It happened overnight. Yesterday it was still winter, with that sleepy gray cast that tells you it might snow at any moment. An emptiness that says if growing plants made a sound there would be dead silence.
And then the sun came up on a new day and everything changed. A friend of mine said it best: “It was as though a green fire ignited sometime during the darkness and spread across the land, whispering of a summer to be found just down the road.”
Daffodils that yesterday were but flimsy stems, this morning are shaking their golden heads in the breeze. Hyacinths have exploded in purple and pink. Hastas poke pink spears upward out of the ground, as though sniffing the air to make sure it is safe.
The temperature moves into the upper 60s and then above 70. I ease into a chair on the deck and scan the width and breadth of the back yard.
The Rose of Sharon sports tiny buds that will linger around for weeks and finally explode into pink and white blossoms. It has puzzled me that half the shrub has white blooms, the other half pink. The high bush cranberry shows signs of life.
The Chinese elm glows with a pale green aura. The maples sport pink buds that will surge into leaves. At some point squadrons of maple helicopters will flutter and spin to the ground.
Small things begin new growth around the pond. A single golden koi remains from last year’s population of nine large fish. A predator must have showed up hungry one night last winter. The survivor is skittish and dives for cover when I appear.
It is blissful. But, I see other things, too. The lawn is strewn with small limbs and branches from the trees. There are bare spots that will have to be reseeded. Leaves missed by last fall’s rake have accumulated along the fence and in the corners. They have to be flushed out.
The shrubs need to be pruned of their dead wood. Bulbs await the ground. Bags of Weed & Feed sit in the garage for me to load the spreader and treat the lawn.
The mower needs to be fitted with fresh blades and the trimmer needs a new spool of nylon string. The tiller needs a new spark plug and fresh oil. It is eager to dig new gardens.
I look at the house. The deck needs new stain, and the gutters are overflowing again with junk that has blown in from God knows where.
And, oh, yeah, the lawn needs mowing already.