The weather is warm today for early March in Southern Illinois. It’s the time of year I love and hate so much. The promise of warmer days and beautiful flowers and shady trees is in the air. The time when the maple trees try to kill me.
I finished my work early this afternoon, and glanced outside. The sky was a bit overcast but every now and then the sun would peek through. I could tell by view from my window that the air was warm. Birds were flying across the yard and the squirrels were racing up and down the trees.
I decided to test my allergy medication and step outside, camera in hand. The sun peeked out from behind the clouds and warmed my face as I wandered down the driveway to check the mailbox.
I was almost to the mailbox when I saw it – my first true sign of early spring. One tiny brave crocus was opening up its blooms. It’s a sight that always gets to me, seeing the tiny flowers pushing their way up through the leaves and sticks scattered over the flowerbeds.
As I crouched to take the picture, I noticed several other stems in the background of the shot. From where I sat, the little yellow crocus now looked like the leader of a little crocus army, invading my yard for the spring. I smiled as I took the shot, looking forward to the riots to come. Yellows and purples and whites…. first the crocuses, then the tulips and daffodils.
My fingers itched to dig the leaves out of the flowerbeds and make it easier for the little plants to grow. But I know that it’s too early yet. The warmth of this week is just a tease – there will be more cold nights and they still need the protection for the moment. I yearn for the last frost to be done. Patiently I wait.
Everything in my garden has special meaning to me. There are a myriad of messages I can’t ignore.
It’s one of the guages I always used to see if I was paying attention. Like when the boys’ hair or fingernails got too long… If the weeds were growing up in my flowerbeds or wilting from lack of water, I knew it was time to slow down and take a good look at where I was spending my time and energy.
There were other messages that came to me from my garden over the years. Parallels of life.
The perennials remind me that some things in this world return again and again but only when the season is right for them.
The annuals keep me aware that some things are in this world only for a short time _ so we should appreciate their beauty while we can.
Every now and then an “annual” would return unexpectedly the next spring – reminding me that miracles can happen and some things of beauty can return when you least expect them.
Then there are flowers that just show up in my garden – not planted by me but randomly dropped there perhaps by a bird or a squirrel or maybe carried in on the wind.
They remind me that you never know when a seed is planted how long it may be or how far it may travel before the conditions are right for it to grow into its full beauty.
You just never know when the combination of sunshine & rain is just such that a seed takes root and grows. Perhaps sometimes wilting as the weather changes – or maybe blooming into a beautiful flower unexpectedly set there to suprise and delight some unsuspecting passerby.
Some of the flowers are more tolerant of change than others. What may cause one flower to flourish and bloom might cause another to wilt and die. This is true of most people I know as well.
My garden reminds me to ask the questions: What are you planting in the garden of your life? What seeds have you sown? What have you done to encourage them to grow?
I plant smiles whenever possible. Happy Friday!