This week the first tulip opened in a patch of bulbs I planted last fall, a brilliant red with oval petals that spread completely flat in the hot sunshine. It looks like a crimson star floating above the bark mulch. I was sure that I planted pink tulips, but surprise! the first one was red.
Our grey world is springing into color, just tinges of it at the beginning, but promises for more all around. The daffodils at the edges of the woods are waving bits of sunshine, and there are twice as many as there were last year. I love that they multiply and naturalize, and critters don’t like them. When you drive the countryside, you can see marks of old homesteads long gone to ruin with saplings grown up in the foundations and drifts of daffodils where some homemaker dropped bulbs beside her doorstep years ago.
Last fall I donated to a kickstarter for a book titled A Little More Beautiful by Sarah Mackenzie. It came in the mail recently, and it is as charming as any illustrated children’s story I have seen. How can I make the world a little more beautiful each day? Hmmm. How about planting a bunch of flowers and sharing them?
I am not a die-hard spring cleaning lady, but I am in the mood to wash all the things in the house and hang them on the line to dry. As I type this, the rugs for the front door are swishing in the washer, and the living room curtains will be next. When the sun shines in such benevolence, I feel that the windows should sparkle and the curtains should be worthy.
Gabriel is using the chain saw and the tractor to clear the briars and trash accumulated in the back yard for many years. The girls are helping to collect the branches for burning, and I overheard a mild protest, “Can’t he pick another mid-life crisis, just anything else?” For some reason our children think ambitious clean-up projects are a sign of middle age, yet we have tackled these sorts of things many times in their lifetimes. Maybe it’s because they are now strong enough to be a real help, and it is sinking in that this is work, not just a bonfire for roasting hotdogs later.
I have been edging the three beds close to the house. The thing I never thought about when I was being so smart and unrolling old hay bales on top of my long rectangular gardens was that there would be miles of edges with grass borders. I don’t hate the job, but it takes a long time to clear the grasses and weeds that creep into the beds. It also requires a tape measure to get the lines straight, and it is my own problem that I cannot bear to look out the window and see a bulging border. I was trying to fix a few problem spots, and asked my husband, who is much better at free-handing this sort of thing, if it looked all right. “It looks perfect,” he said, and quickly escaped before I could request that he fix what was apparently perfect already. (If I could find a good edging material (that isn’t plastic) it would be worth installing. Please speak up if you have any advice for me on this matter.)
It is astonishing how much more motivated I feel when it is warm outside. Our heat is off this week, and the sunshine has been a daily grace. We had friends here for an outdoor supper around the fire with the whine of mosquitoes and the trilling of spring peepers serenading us. We have gone straight from winter to summer, is what it feels like, and nature is kicking up her heels. I don’t mind. I have no doubt that we will still get some hard frosts, but just for now we are basking.
I have a very broody hen that got a bad case of spring fever. She wanted chicks so badly that she just sat in the nesting box day in and day out, even though we took the eggs away from her every day. We moved her to an empty bunny hutch so that her intense longing for motherhood wouldn’t affect the rest of the flock. I found a source of fertilized eggs and stuck a dozen under her so that she can do her setting with some fruit for all her effort. She has four more days to go until they are due to hatch out. I will be so relieved for her, because she hardly eats or drinks anything, just sits and waits and waits. Rita feeds her worms and bugs that she finds, and watches over her solicitously.
With this season there has been an explosion of birdsong. All around they flirt, warble, and spill their sheer joy into the air. There is a phoebe building her mud and moss nest in the corner of the porch awning, a cardinal shaping a pretty twig nest in the lilac bush right outside the window, a robin once more making herself a home in the shrubbery beside our back deck, and there are sparrows in all the bluebird boxes.
I am reminded that God is the Creator of LIFE! New life springing out of barren, frozen wastelands. It is His delight to resurrect what has died, to bring fruit out of the seed that dies. If I would remember the utter faithfulness of His character when I feel panic because something dear to me is dying, it would save me a lot of flapping about. Every year this same truth hits me between the eyes, and I wonder why it is that I forget it every winter.
I made a list of as many hopes, dreams, ambitions, I could think of in my entire life that I have at some point given up, allowed to die. I was thrilled to see how many things He has brought back to life and better than I had hoped for. Not everything. There are seeds that lie buried in the the ground for a very long time. I can’t pretend that I understand God’s timing, but I believe that He knows what to do with the seeds that we bury.
Well, that concludes my springtime homily. I hope it’s a beautiful day where you are.
3 thoughts on “These Wonder Full Days”
We drug logs out of the neighbors woods to make an edge for our tea bed 😉
That’s actually a really good way to make an edge in a less formal setting.
I would have to drag out pretty many trees…