Spring is my favorite season of the year. After a long, dreary winter – this past one made even darker by the loss of my father at the end of November – there is finally the promise of improvement ahead. The gloom has lifted, and the days are longer and brighter.
I don’t know what your weather has been like so far this spring, but we’ve had some stellar days here in Seattle, with temperatures actually making it into the 80’s a couple of times this past week! I think the contrast with the status quo (cool, gray, wet) makes us appreciate a sunny day in May all the more, which reminds me of a passage I wrote in a yet-to-be-published contemporary novel called First of Second Chances (Update: This book is now published as Leap of Faith):
No one could resist an unseasonably warm March day, with everything bursting into bloom at once, least of all sun-starved Seattleites. It seemed outdoor enthusiasts of all kinds had only been awaiting this engraved invitation to emerge from their winter hibernations. Gail could appreciate the feeling. She had certainly weathered harsher climates elsewhere, but no place with more sodden, steel-gray days. It wasn’t so much the total quantity of water that fell from the sky, she decided, but the number of weeks and months it took to reach that total. That’s what grated away at your spirit. If the Inuit people had a hundred different words for the snow that constantly surrounded them, then the same should be true for the variations of Pacific Northwest precipitation. She’d noticed the forecast wasn’t given in black and white – rain, or no rain – but in more shades of gray: “partly cloudy, scattered showers, patchy morning fog,” and, her personal favorite, “drizzle.” No wonder that a clear blue sky was celebrated like a national holiday, especially in early spring.
Likewise, in Mansfield Park, Fanny Price only learns to truly appreciate the natural glories of spring provided by her adopted home when she is deprived of them by being sent away to Portsmouth.
It was sad to Fanny to lose all the pleasures of spring. She had not known before what pleasures she had to lose in passing March and April in a town. She had not known before how much the beginnings and progress of vegetation had delighted her. What animation, both of body and mind, she had derived from watching the advance of that season which cannot, in spite of its capriciousness, be unlovely, and seeing its increasing beauties from the earliest flowers in the warmest divisions of her aunt’s garden…(chapter 45)
Nothing says spring to me like the early flowers: daffodil, camellia, magnolia, and rhododendron. And, when the threat of frost is gone, even my tropical house plants get to move outdoors. My potted Plumeria tree and Bird of Paradise plants will spend the next few months on my patio, near my goldfish pond.
So, please make yourself at home, and take a virtual stroll though my garden. Hope it brightens your day!