The new growth of daffodils peaking out of the soil and the fledgling flowers of the Helleborus unfurling towards the sky are such clichés that I bear much pain to write about them. But while they are overused seasonal metaphors there can be no denying that their beauty and freshness breaks open the newness of each Spring.
As we christen this new season with warm days and frost-creating nights, it’s easy to get swept up in its energy. This afternoon, for instance, I took a walk in my garden. My mind was fogged over with business challenges and stumbling blocks. I knew that a few minutes under the blue sky would help.
So, for the first time this year, I walked outside in my shirtsleeves and did not run back in for my forgotten coat. I stopped a few feet from the door, closed my eyes, raised my face to the sky and absorbed its warmth.
“Ahhha ooooo,” I sighed.
A deep breath and then I started my walk. Another couple of steps and I stooped to pull the lank, dead leaves away from the daylily sprouts. Shredded leaves like a wire-haired terrier’s coat stuck close to ground. There were no beetles are bugs scurrying for safety as I plucked needlessly at the old leaves.
The lavender was dry and crisp like the grey days of winter and a few buds from last year clung to the crunchy stems. Dried grass swooned in the wind under the oaks that will be the last trees to unfurl their leaves in the garden.
The dark purple flower buds of the Helleborus rise like a slow tide above their winter weathered leaves. They will be the first flowers to fully bloom but even then, they will protect themselves by nodding downward on their juicy stems, somewhat afraid to face to full blast of March.
The Pasque flowers that mark most late season Easter celebrations are just starting to show their fleece-covered leaves. But soon their blooms of pastel pinks and purple will draw attention away from last year’s leaf debris.
The Red bud, has yet to burst into flower, but it will just before the Serviceberries turn their first blush of white.
While the ground warms and creates a habitat for new growth, the sky is already alive. A red-winged black bird glides into the Cedars and I see a morning dove landing in the pine tree. One robin takes flight while another skitters and hops across the garden pathway. The Kildeers have not yet started making their nest in the gravel and there is no sign yet of the robin building her nest in the corner fence post.
Today, I do not see ‘Not My Cat’ either. He shows up usually when he hears a door close on our barn or vehicle. Yesterday, he came from the next-door property when he heard me in the garden. He did not come for a pet or to rub up against my leg as normal. He strutted along the path only regarding my “kitty, kitty, kitty” call with a quick glare of disdain.
‘Not My Cat’ is perturbed with me. Last week as I was leaving the garden, on the last warm sunny day of winter, I saw him curled up on a bed of matted grass. Slumbering. I called out to him.
“Hey bud. Are you awake there?” No sound.
“Hey, Kit, kit, kit.”
‘Meeooow,” he growled and stretched up to a sitting position.
“Are you okay, bud?” I asked.
‘Meeooow.” He refused to move or look at me. He made a sound that could only be called a grumble. He held his front paw in the air.
“Are you hurt?”
‘Meeooow.” He looked away. “Hhrrrmmmmph” He twisted back into a ball, wrapping his tail around himself. There was no further sound.
This was ‘Not My Cat’s’ response to a rude awakening.
Susanne Spence Wilkins – March 2021.