Here Comes Spring

b flowers and snowThe snow that’s left now lies mostly in disconnected curves and crescents, where our plow service banked its savings at the ends of the driveway and cleared a space to the mailbox. This plowing is done by a woman who is a landscaper in the summer half of the year, and it shows in the careful edges of her beautiful plowing. Then the county street plow comes along and throws the sandy, icy detritus from the road all over her beautiful work. Then the mailman, who in this case is a mailwoman, leaves a note in the mailbox pointing out that she can’t drive right up to it and that this won’t do. So then Doug goes out with a snow shovel and moves the road snow somewhere inoffensive.

b seedlingsI can see from the upstairs window that he won’t have to do that again this season. I’m tending my seedlings in their new, experimental pots, because during the pandemic we switched to getting milk delivered in glass bottles, so I no longer have all those paper cartons for seed starting. Last year I had a motley bunch of trays, but this year I bought some very fancy, reusable silicone potting sets. I’m going to see how they compare to the empty egg cartons and random leftover bedding pots I had lying around.

b tomatoThe indoor Cobra tomatoes I started in big pots in the window downstairs are two feet tall now, and developing their first flowers. I calculate this means tomatoes by Memorial Day. Maybe next year I’ll start them earlier and have tomatoes for, oh, Mardi Gras or something. I’ll put on my green and purple glass beads and have a BLT with my paczki.

b helleboreSpeaking of Lent, Hellebores are also called Lenten Roses, since they bloom at the appropriate time. Mine are a little late starting this year, but there’s still plenty of Lent left for them to catch up. I went out this afternoon to cut away some of the old leaves, and this as my reward. Hello, little flowers. Little signs of hope. Welcome to the needy world.

Like a Lamb

b tulipsI have many lovely photos of my flowering amaryllis and tulips, blooming on the windowsill in this unaccountably mild early March. I planned to write about them, their colors, how the pink of one brings out the coral tones of another, but I’m having trouble concentrating on their peace and beauty while the news of war, burning through the snow in Ukraine, simmers underneath the Word window on my laptop.

b top tulipsThere was a picture in the news this morning of the entrance to a Ukrainian embassy, piled high with flowers, the universal offer of comfort and condolence. These were mostly blue and yellow, the colors of Ukraine’s flag. I have many yellow daffodils and blue forget-me-nots still deep in their winter sleep in my front yard. They’re hardy, and will rise and bloom no matter what is thrown at them. Snow. Sleet. Freeze-thaw-freeze. No matter what, they work their way toward the surface and bump the leafmold out of the way.

b bigToday in Ann Arbor the snow is in full retreat under a sunny sky and 48 degrees. This is a temperature that would feel cold to me if it rolled through in July, but today I walked outside in my flannel shirt, no jacket. Cold measured by a thermometer is absolute, but cold against the skin exists in relation to other things. We live in a layered world, where beautiful things and terrible things bump up against each other. Sometimes the best you can do against the terrible ones is to try to keep the beautiful ones on top.