Spring in the upper Midwest is a roller coaster ride – sun and warmth one day followed by cold winds and snow the next. We have our ups and downs. But we also know that spring, and eventually summer, will prevail. Until then we surround ourselves with the hopes and colors of springtime.
I bought some tulips at the store recently to help brighten the day. Their pale colors were lovely and they reminded me of the delicateness of spring with a whisper of pale pink throughout the petals. The blooms were tight when I first brought them home, but they slowly opened up. As they got larger their weight caused them to bend forward, sometimes falling one against another. The lightness and support of these two tulips struck me as the definition of softness.
We’ve enjoyed days of blue sky and sunshine. Our temperatures have soared into the 40s and 50s and we were so very optimistic for spring. Even the grass was showing, and snow was only found in small mounds on protected north sides.
And then it snowed yesterday. Spring was delayed another time. Today I found these trees standing tall on a hill in our monotone winter landscape, their branches still bare but triumphant. They know that spring will come. The grass beneath their trunks will be green again. The sky above their outstretched arms will be a brilliant shade of blue. And their branches will burst out with a full coverage of green leaves. Not today, but soon.
With a lightness in my step and a smile on my face, I stepped out into 48 degrees and sunshine yesterday afternoon for a walk. The sun was warm and it seemed that everyone was outside taking advantage of the lovely weather. My thoughts turned to spring and the hope of flowers and blooming trees. Tulips seem to be one of those “perfect” symbols of springtime, turning their blooms up towards the sun.
This morning I woke up to snow. Sometimes it was coming down quite heavily. My brightness of yesterday and hope for spring was certainly dimmed. But today is still February, and this snow will probably repeat again before the season turns all the way to spring. I shoveled the heavy wet snow, turned my face to the sun that had broken through the clouds, and tried to imagine the green grass and the blooming trees and tulips.
I was contacted by a neighbor saying they had pink lady’s slippers blooming in their yard; oh, what a wonderful invitation! Semi-hidden amidst some tall grasses, she showed me multiple clumps of these lovely flowers. Pink lady’s slippers are part of the orchid family, and are about 6 to 10 inches tall. They are delicate and stand tall on a single leafless stem. Like other ephemerals they bloom for only a few short days before the deciduous trees form their full canopy of leaves blocking sunlight to the ground. I sat on the ground and marveled at these beauties, thankful that I could enjoy them at their peak.
A week ago there was a lovely full moonrise. I stood by the lake and waited for the moon to clear the hill and the trees on the opposite shoreline. The wind slowly settled down, and there was a lovely quiet that wrapped around me. The waves calmed and the lake became still. Then the moon appeared – large and pearl colored, and as it rose it seemed that the tops of the trees were supporting it and offering it up to the night sky. I watched and then my ears picked up the haunting call of a loon at the other end of the lake. It all seemed a perfect rite of spring, and I savored this respite from the many worries of the world right now.