Out of the Zone
Spring came in a rush, a tumble of images. A month ago, I saw a bear amble across the back field. It might have been my imagination but he appeared to be sleepwalking, loping along almost in a daze. It was hardly spring, still cold, grass not yet green. But time enough for the bears to come out and we had had some warm days. Peepers chattered from the pond. Then came the daffodils and the grape hyacinths. Forsythia burst out in one day, an exclamation of bright yellow against the still-brown landscape. The mountain still had snow. It built like that. A magnolia I planted about four years ago and which has never bloomed, opened, to my surprise, in big dramatic blossoms of pale yellow, the color of a prom dress. I have no recollection of having bought a yellow magnolia and yet, there it is, finally showing its color.
It was all too early, no conversation went by without that remark. Global warming, climate change — a volcano in Iceland brings the world to a halt, could that be connected? We live now on speculation and superstition as it seems that science has run out of answers. Last week, we had snow, several inches here covered the daffodils and the tiny hyacinths, the greening grass. The new tiny leaves on the maple were weighted with the stuff. The mountain went white again. I heard that up north, there was a foot, the road crews were called out with their plows, and some of the ski hills opened for the day. Why not? Good fresh corn snow. Someone built a snowman with the eyes, nose, mouth in stones, not smiling but turned down in sadness. Sticking out of his arm was a bunch of tulips, freshly picked.
I like late April snow, the new white covering the bright green and brilliant flowers makes for good colors and, besides, it never lasts long. And this one surely didn’t. Within a couple of days, not only was the snow gone but I flung open the windows and doors, hoping for a breeze. The needle on the thermometer outside my kitchen window pointed to 90, the daffodils went by (having endured the snow). Last night, I dug the fan out of the closet to move the still, humid air. The magnolia has two dozen large blooms on it, unfazed. And the lilacs are starting to bloom. I could be mistaken but I don’t think I’ve ever seen lilacs in bloom here on the second day of May. Ever. We are a month ahead of ourselves. I love a lingering spring but we will not have it this year. We’ve spun through the spring like a movie on fast forward. I don’t normally plant my garden until Memorial Day, for fear of a late frost. But maybe it’s time to readjust my thinking. Change is all around us, even Climate Zones. I’m suddenly feeling I’ve waited too long to plant. Today, they say, will be another hot and humid day, a summer’s day.
The truth is that it was the snow that was normal, not the bursting flowers and the grass that needs mowing. Will the leaves start turning in August?