Maybe yesterday’s greenhouse beauties were too gaudy for your taste – it’s easy to be bold and beautiful when you’re lovingly tended by paid staff and live in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment.
Is your preference instead for the frilly fragrant blooms of this witch hazel in the snowbound garden? Do you find their ruffled paper-confetti flowers more beautiful, or admirable, for their brash defiance of the snow and ice?
Maybe I’m looking for meaning where it doesn’t exist, or playing with metaphors just to amuse myself, but not a single person paid any mind to this plant as they passed it by on their way into the greenhouses yesterday during my visit to the garden center. Primroses and pansies and coddled orchids were worthy of attention, but not this common plant putting on its vernal show for all to witness for free.
Spring is where you find it and, of course, where you choose to look. I’m at the point that any flower, or other sign of spring, however humble, causes me to stop and take notice. All the little steps away from winter bring us closer to warmth and the greening of the landscape.
When the retailers decide to flood the market with colorful flowers really has nothing to do with spring. If we followed them, we’d be celebrating Halloween in late August. We laugh at that idea, but are willing to buy into it in late March when we’re desperate for an end to winter and cold. But if you have a garden or are attentive to the signs, even the green shoots of snowdrops and crocuses, without any blooms yet, can work their magic and convince you that spring is on its way, however reluctantly it comes sometimes.
The miracle of March is working, mostly unseen. By May, when all the world is green and humming with life, we’ll have lost all sense of proportion. For now the first crocus or the simple witch hazel are a gentle reminder that spring isn’t just a dream.