I’m glad I started writing about my garden and about spring flowers last year when everything happened perfectly, beautifully as (I think) it should have. Gradually the winter cold loosened its grip, allowing the warming ground to admit crocus flowers first, then forsythia, then narcissus, then early daffodils, then later ones, then early tulips and later ones, and on through daisies, Black-Eyed Susans and beyond. I started my garden accordingly, too: seeds tucked into their small cells, solitary, monastic, under lights as they broke the soil’s surface and grew. Lettuces and broccoli, pea and leek seeds were first, then after they had vacated their cells for their new home in the garden, tomato and pepper and okra seeds took up their positions, awaiting their moment in the sun.
This year was different from last, all confused, haphazard. Spring lurched clumsily along like a parade where the floats and bands and antique cars and horse troops leave the staging area whenever they feel like it, long before the Grand Marshall’s driver even starts the car that should lead them all. The person with the clipboard and whistle and walkie-talkie, who usually tells the Easter parade of spring flowers and showers and blossoms and gradually warming temperatures when to take their turn, was home with a cold or the flu or dropsy or sinusitis, maybe pleurisy or hay fever (tree pollen appeared before Palm Sunday: impossible!) or maybe just malaise. No one seemed to be taking charge of Spring’s appearance. The mishmash jarred me.
The vernal equinox passed over a month ago. Why does that day, when big cosmic doings, stars aligning, earth tilting just so, sun in position heralding a new season, pass virtually unnoticed and un-remarked? I can’t understand why more people don’t marvel at time’s mile markers to pause and note its passing. Yet even if they had this year, they would have wondered, as I did, what had gone, well, if not wrong, at least differently.
Yesterday, I saw masses of green in my favorite perennial bulb beds around where I work instead of bright later tulips and other mid-spring flowers. I love the green, a vivid, vervant medicine which heals me, body and soul, with its balm, but missed the color. The cherry blossoms in town were here and gone in one week instead of the usual two-and-a-half or more, like a prankster who rings the doorbell, getting me up from supper for no good reason but a laugh, soon forgotten.
So I’m wondering if I should set the tomato and pepper plants in the ground now or wait a few more weeks. Got dice?