The sun is having a fit, I hear, sending out fiery splashes of molten sun-stuff into the universe toward earth like an angry mother chastising her young. She does this periodically, as the magnetic poles change, an agonizing process that draws out her hot breath.
When this happens, the earth trembles. Aviators worry and so does the space station. People notice more than we might have ever done because our communications are affected. Today, the world wide web was sporadic, my Internet phone kept dropping calls, my cell phone did the same, I could not rely on Mr. Google to check facts. And the wind is whirling as I write, bending trees that stretch in pain, getting too much exercise after a sedentary winter.
The climate people will bemoan the role of man and blame it on the latest combinations of natural elements that people have been spewing in their excitement over learning more and more about how the universe works. Should we calm ourselves? We seem to have accepted that we must, and we are looking for new ways to do things in response to the terrorizing prognostications that extermination is just around the corner at the local gas station.
I look at it this way; Mother Earth, the daughter of Grandmother Sun, has it all figured out and we will be okay. People, no matter how learned, do not know as much as we would like to think. We are all intrinsically connected, and people are a part of nature so cannot do anything “unnatural”, but we do like to imagine ourselves into a position of superior knowledge. Consequently, we make some comical mistakes, while also doing some incredible things at the same time.
Plants on the other hand, have a different kind of knowledge. They have been leery of appearing too soon this spring, perhaps expecting the periodic chaos of their life-giver. Who would know better, after all, than the ones most directly affected by the moods of their benefactor and closest relative?
There as a lunar eclipse last night when the moon moved into the earth’s shadow, The Blood Moon, they say, or if you are a gardener, the Flower Supermoon. Plants may be a little surprised say those “who know”, but I doubt it. They have undoubtedly been prepared for this normal interruption of their growing cycle.
More difficult to deal with here in the northern hemisphere this year is the strange, long-term behaviour of the weather. The snow disappeared in mid Marsh, holding out the promise of an early spring, but it was only a snowless spring, not warm or early. The cold kept us locked indoors and the plants stayed tucked warmly underground. I lost a rose or two. I am still waiting to see if there are other bereavements in the offing. The hostas are up, but there is no sign of the native Joe Pye Weed or the asclepias that feeds my need for monarch butterflies in the garden.
I have not planted any tender annuals yet, not because I am particularly wise, but because of restrictions on my movements due to COVID. Still, it is not that concerning. I am feeling that we should not be too eager to plant early this year. It is not yet time.
Why were my movements restricted? Well, I went to the International Peace Garden last week, to take on the job as president, and felt I should be there to lead the meeting. Even though I had not technically left Canada and that everyone I met with was vaccinated, Border Services has insisted that I spend 14 days in quarantine.
Ah, well, it was worth it. There is something about this magical place straddling the border of Canada and the United States that fills you with gladness and takes away troubles like an eraser on a blackboard (or are they greenboards, these days?).
I will share a few pictures.
Finally, in the garden, the little columnar apple tree, that I freed from its protective cover last fall, is rewarding me with its very first blossoms! Glenn wrapped that baby in chicken wire to protect it from hungry deer that were nibbling its soft and tasty bark. He even put a lid on the top. It has taken me five years to find the heart to remove the cage, but I did it last fall and the tree is responding. Poor thing has developed two leaders so I shall have to deal with this by removing one. It is only a bit over five feet tall.
Everywhere else, plants are springing up, stretching cramped leaves and branches, flushing with flowers, dredging up their greenest green and manufacturing enticing scents. The ornamental peach is in full bloom and the lilac is opening its plumes of purple. The lily of the valley is perfuming the air in competition. Yellow dandelions are adding gaiety all over the lawn while busy rogue grasses send out tentative underground shoots to find plants they can hide in and sneakily grow without me seeing them. Cursed things.
This is the best time of the year in the garden, a time of renewal and hope. And this year, of all years, this year of wicked COVID, we need renewal and hope more than ever.