It looks like we’re in for a real spring this year. And I am once more taking up my plans for the back yard…
We have reached the last week — the last few days! — of February. Our family has spent all 25 days of it down to one car because…
We may be able to remedy that today.
In the meantime, I’ve been podcasting, but last week I forgot to let you know about it! So here’s what you missed last week — my somewhat sheepish confession that I’m just a little bit obsessed with James McAvoy…
And here’s this week’s episode, about some of the surprises old houses hold for their new owners…
I hope you enjoy them. I also hope that the rest of February passes painlessly by for you. And if you’re a praying person, do say one for us that we get a car today. Much obliged.
Yesterday after church, the Rev. and the boy and I watched The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe again.
It seemed somehow appropriate to our current situation.
Stuck in what feels like an unending winter.
Encased in ice.
Under a flat gray sky.
We’re halfway through April, if you can believe it.
These poor quince buds have been waiting and waiting to bloom.
The trees have been waiting to sprout new growth.
Even the evergreens seem tired of it all.
We wait eagerly for the next season.
And comfort ourselves with what we hope is one last fire.
It’s been marvelously, beautifully, gloriously spring around these parts.
Everything’s pushing up and out, drinking in the sun and rain.
It’s wave after wave of flowers.
Each week something else takes center stage.
Every leaf is fresh and new.
Every bud a gift that opens on its own.
April is the poem the earth writes in flowers.
What a week. Enough flu for everyone.
Thankfully there have been flowers as well, both inside…
The earliest blooms are out in the back yard gardens. The Lenten Rose (hellebores)…
…and the Siberian Squill (scilla)…
…and these tiny little guys, who have made themselves quite at home in one of my beds…
They’re a weed called Veronica Speedwell I’ve decided to let stay because I need groundcover in that spot anyway and have had limited success with the plants I actually planted in this very sunny, dry area. We’ll see what they do the rest of the year. If they behave nicely, I may keep them. They can be invasive, though, so I may regret it later.
At any rate, I’m still in no shape to deal with getting the garden cleaned up for spring. It’s on its own for a few more days at least as I recover fully from the flu. It’s a shame to have wasted some perfect gardening days sitting in a stupor inside, but there it is. Nothing can be done about it.
While recovering, I was lucid enough to enjoy two literary moments of significance. First, I got my latest manuscript back from the German translator who was helping me translate certain lines of dialogue into correct German, and also helping me with the elements of the plot which touch on translation issues between English and German. She had some very nice things to say about the manuscript and encouraged me to let her know when it found a publisher so she could tell her editors to be on the lookout for the translation rights. It was a wonderful boost of confidence for me as she is the first person who has actually read it in full.
The second moment came the next day, Sunday, when I received an email from one of the editors of The Lyric poetry magazine accepting one of my poems for a future issue. I don’t have any details yet, but I’ll be sure to share more when I know more.
And then Sunday night I felt normal enough to paint.
I based this painting on a photo I took years ago over a field in the Grand Ledge area before sunrise back when I was occasionally picking up a friend early in the morning to carpool to Grand Rapids. There was that glow in the sky that just precedes the sun, and a fine mist among the distant trees. One of those moments that is so fleeting and that you rarely get to experience when your house is smack dab in the city like ours.
So, I’m basically feeling normal now. I’m back to work (at home, as always) and though it is the beginning of Spring Break, the house is finally empty after our week of sickness. My husband has taken our son and the neighbor boy off on an adventure and my only companion is my canary, Alistair. I have a full inbox to deal with and some laundry that needs a kickstart. Time to brew a cup of coffee and see if I really am indeed back to normal — the worst part of the flu has been that my taste buds (we actually call them taste bites in this family) seem to be confused and coffee is the most dire casualty. Good, dark roast coffee has tasted like diner coffee with almost-turned cream. I’m hoping today might be the day everything gets back to normal…
Late October is still a great time for the garden when you have these beauties in your beds.
Sunday morning we finally had our first frost. Cold weather’s been slow in coming this year. Nearly a week of bright, sunny days in the mid-70s preceded this frost. But most of the leaves are finally down.
As they sometimes do, my irises bloomed a second time this year. They tend to put out one last effort before winter if we get a stretch of warm days. But time is short for what still remains in the garden. The burning bush holds to a few last leaves. The hostas have all turned yellow and collapsed. Another day of working out in the yard will erase it all. Then the snows.