I am hopeful for an early spring this year. This hope comes as I look at the temperature outside and realize it’s a chilly 33 degrees Fahrenheit. And that’s without the wind chill and the freezing rain/snow that’s been blowing around all day long. Once this winter storm passes, though, I’m going to hold out for spring to come early and stay. We deserve it. It’s time. And I think I may have evidence of such an event blooming in my yard. Walking the garden, I notice that I have a lot of things blooming much earlier this year.
Of course, I say that every year because it’s about this time that those of us who are the uber-gardeners start chomping at the bit to get outside and put our hands in the dirt. It’s true. I have been happiest with dirt under my nails and leaves in my hair. Fortunately, I married a good man who doesn’t mind a few twigs. In the past this extreme love of the garden has vied for space in my psyche with my love of sailing. I admit that many times I have let Mike go down to the boat by himself, preferring to putter around in the garden snipping this, digging that. My garden is beautiful. I’ve had many years of pleasure creating and maintaining it. Gardens are world’s in and of themselves. Ask any passionate gardener.
Last year I noticed that my feelings had changed. I still loved the garden, but I started choosing to go down to the boat rather than work all day. I allowed once pampered plants to fend for themselves. “Live or die”, I said to them. “You choose.” (Yep, I do talk to my plants.) The balance was tipping; the downhill slide into full fledged boat craziness had begun. I bought a hammock, put it up on the boat, and commenced laying in it with a good book.
I usually don’t do much in moderation, a karmic lesson that will take me a lifetime to learn properly. So once the balance shifts, it’s a little like riding a freight train. Still, the karma requires that I throttle back the engine some and pay attention to the fullness of my life now, not simply the life I want to lead in the future. So I’m trying. In so doing, I go out to my garden and look at what’s blooming, plan what needs to happen this year; make time and space in the psyche for plants I still love and spaces that still feed my soul.
Here are some photos I took while walking the garden on a sunny day this week. The Hellebores are blooming! I love them because they bloom in the winter, then keep nice foliage the rest of the year. They are no muss, no fuss plants with a lot of impact. And they don’t need much sun, which is good because I don’t have much to give them up here.
Hellebores, who give up their beauty in the depths of winter, are the promise of the spring yet to emerge for us. They are the hope-keepers of the garden, bridging the memory of gardens past with the vision for the garden’s future. They say to us, ‘Just wait patiently for the future to emerge. No need to hurry. Appreciate me right now.’ And I love them for it, and try to listen.