Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mid-February Musings

"Was it the smile of early spring
That made my bosom glow?
'Twas sweet, but neither sun nor wind
Could raise my spirit so.

Was it some feeling of delight,
All vague and undefined?
No, 'twas a rapture deep and strong,
Expanding in the mind!"
- Anne Bronte, In Memory of A Happy Day in February

Mid-February one's mind really turns to spring, doesn't it? The sun is just a smidgeon brighter and warmer, the days are a tad longer, and spirits raise accordingly. There are more smiles. People seem happier. We looked winter in the eye and came out on the other side.
Now, granted, there may be storms ahead, but in a month or so there will be enough warmth for spring peepers to break into song.

"The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within."
- William C. Bryant

On warm days sap rises in the trees and you notice the faintest swelling of the buds. Oh, we're far from leaves yet, but there are whispers of life from within. A walk around the yard and garden hints at what's to come: the dragon's blood sedum is brilliant red; creeping ranunculus repens is sending up tiny wrinkled leaves under all the roses; willows wave chartreuse twigs like lace from their boughs. Still no sign here in Ohio of the bulbs I planted last fall, but I keep looking--every time the snow melts away I look.

"From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens:
the garden outdoors,
the garden of pots and bowls in the house,
and the garden of the mind's eye."
- Katherine S. White

I must confess that I do not do so well with pots and bowls in the house. Gardening is all about the outdoors for me. I either drown or wither everything I attempt indoors. I have 4 houseplants: a tired looking cactus; a wan and wee baby spider plant; a green but ungrowing vase plant; and a gangly, awkwardly growing night-blooming cereus that sends out long naked shoots willy-nilly in all directions. I hope the latter will bloom this summer, but I have serious cereus doubts. (Sorry, I could not help myself.)
The garden of my mind's eye is thriving, though. I envision rows of flowers for cutting, roses aplenty, and fresh vegetables. I dream of warm spring days filled with blossoming trees and honeybees, and nights on the patio, listening to the larks' tinkling song from across the fields. February sunshine seems to shout, "Spring is coming!" I'm ready.

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