Just as I begin to think yellow—
a bowl of daffodils
a little girl’s braids
bouncing in a game—
along comes more snow
where brown fields lie fallow
barren trees just budding
remain bereft as old maids
shivering in shame.
I know that spring is capricious in these northern parts of the country. Winter never left the Chicago-to-Boston-wide swath of the Eastern Seaboard, according to the nightly news; but a mild spell in the Pacific Northwest encouraged dogwood buds and purple crocuses to appear two months early. Last week I discovered a small scattering of violets, rather miniscule, peeping from the bracken in my front dooryard garden when I pruned the peonies. Then, like a slap in the face, winter returned with a vengeance, albeit mostly without snow, just fine mist.
The winter of 2017, on the other hand, was the snowiest on record, it was said, seemingly never-ending. Three months of the white stuff was enough to drive me batty. All I wanted to do was hide under a quilt during those long grey days and awake only after dark settled when I didn’t have to look outside and imagine myself suspended in whiteness. Eventually, the edges of snow began to shrink and expose a bit of bare ground I forgot was there all along.
Today’s mist is just that—a misting of leaf and blade and branch surfaces, merely dampening the streets and tops of cars parked in driveways. The only white surfaces in my garden are the glass table tops on the back courtyard. That’s enough for me. Who knows what March will bring but more wind storms.
In the meantime, I’ve arranged faux orchids amid graceful birch branches that blew down in last week’s wind storm, standing them in one of my blue and white porcelain planters. They seem to add a breath of sweetness to stale winter days indoors—or is this sweetness the fragrance of a gardenia candle on the tea table?