I’ve written three completely different drafts of this post over the past week. It’s been a rough time the last few weeks and frankly, the first forray was dark and hurting. I let that sit for a few days and then went in a different direction, a poem I wrote years ago about the change of the seasons that I’ve been reworking.
Well, here we are at number three.
Last September, I decided that the first things I was going to plant in our new yard were Daffodil bulbs. I put them wherever I felt like it, some in garden beds …
… others in the middle of the grass.
Well, was I ever delighted last week in the midst of the hurt I was feeling to see little Daff leaves and Daff buds peaking up. I did a survey of the yard and realised that I am not the first to have had this idea (although perhaps the first to plant in the middle of the lawn).
There are Daffs coming up in large clumps along the pasture wall, up by the house, over in a corner, which rather helps me get over the absolute lack of Snow Drops. They need a damp, woody home and while there is a damp enough wood, there are no Snow Drops. If we are here long enough, I will remedy that.
I’ve been wondering if there are Blue Bells. We live a very short drive from a wood famous for its Blue Bells. We took my folks there when they visited the first year we lived here. Mum had always wanted to see Blue Bell Time. It was spectacular.
I haven’t seen any signs of Blue Bell growth, however, on the woodland floor here on the property that we usually walk. At our old house, they would have been starting to poke through by now, amid the Snow Drops. So yesterday, we went to another wood on the property and there, I found Blue Bells sprouting up.
I have yet to see a single Snow Drop, however. Those cheerful little bells that sprout in January to remind us life isn’t comletely gone are utterly absent. So, I bought some to plant in the yard. I’ll have to be careful where I put them, because they like moist woody surroundings. It’s dryer up here, but fact is, the property sits on a stand of stone that creates pockets of moisture in the most unexpected places (top of the hill has puddles in the grasses but the bottom is almost dry — fact). I’m sure I’ll find somewhere for them. I also bought Blue Bells, just in case, but that was before I found them yesterday in the wood.
There are lots of other signs of renewal, too. The Alder have catkins already, and there are buds on other trees that I haven’t yet identified. There’s a Crab Apple in the middle of the wood that I cannot wait to see in a couple of months. It has buds on the live parts and there were buds on the Oak, as well.
The Winter Jasmine by the barn has bloomed its cheerful, intrepid yellow flowers all through January, next to the glorious, deep pink Rose, which was in bloom until the end of December. Now rosehips have taken the roses’ place.
Blue Tits and Great Tits share suet, nuts and seed with Nuthatches and Woodpeckers. And a flock of Redwings visited us as it migrated back toward the northern lands that are the species’ summer home. They were fun to watch as they bounced around the grass by the barn looking for food. They’d see something, jump and dive beak first onto whatever it was. Magpies and Crows crowd around the Corvid feeder I’ve set up. It’s just a table feeder, but it’s in the middle of the yard and they have a lot of room there. You should see them vie for space!
I haven’t attracted Long-Tailed Tits to the feeders yet, not enough berry suet out, but as Ana and I walked through the other wood the other day, I saw them playing in the branches of a tree.They are such cheerful, companionable little things. That felt good.
And the sun has shifted in the sky. It no longer comes straight in the south facing window with the same direct intensity at ten in the morning, obliterating the TV screen. Sunrise is at about 7:30 and getting marginally earlier every day; sunset is marginally later every day, so that where we used to be in complete darkness by 4:00 in the afternoon, it’s now just after 5:00.
On February 1, I put my peridot earings and pendant, hanging the moonstone I’ve been wearing since November 1 in its place in a window to rest. People in Canada thought I was nuts to count Spring from February 1. But here’s the thing. I remember the Black Willow Trees on Lakeshore Blvd in Toronto at this time of year. By the second week of February on the north shores of Lake Ontario the sap is running in the Black Willows. Their branches that have been a dull rust colour since November suddenly pop with orange … and Spring has sprung even though there are weeks of snow left. I knew from that point that a few weeks later the Birch would pop with burgundy and the Poplar would glow with grey/green several weeks after that. Signs of Spring carried me through the end of the snow and cold.
And Crocus and Silla and Snow Drops will push their blossoms through the snow if they have to by the Equinox. In Canada, Spring pushes its way through Winter. Here, Winter and Spring merge and part ways.
Nature always knows, my friends, however it happens, when it’s time for renewal.
I’d like to think that I’ve learned a few things over the years. But it’s been made painfully clear, lately, that I need to learn a fair bit more. It’s been a long year since last February 1. So, I move into the new season, with its signs of renewal and hope, hopefully wiser. Hopefully happier. And when I need to be reminded – hopefully within nature’s wonders I will also be renewed.