Spring has sprung, and flora are stretching, budding, opening for their sun. This is a forsythia’s flower. Forsythia are wild bushes. Lanky as a teenage basketball player, they lengthen and sprawl, and reward our patience with their disorganized antics by bursting into yellow blooms in spring, spring only.
It may be Easter, but for some there’s still work to be done before dinner, because tomorrow it might rain.
It might always rain tomorrow.
New shoots are most noticeable on the fruiting trees, maybe because we watch and train their shapes so closely. We bend them to our wills, in a promise: we know you want to grow, but you want to create fruit even more. Let us snip these branches. Trust us. And trees, being slow to move, have no choice but to assent. We prune, and their fruits get light and air, and repay us in volume.
The garden, early April, is just one very long row and change. Shelling peas, sugar snap peas, kohlrabi, parsnips, and finally lettuce are in the ground, nestled in cool earth. See how little space they are taking up. These early vegetables keep to themselves. Peas like to climb, yes, but cold-weather vegetables are stoic, self-contained; they would not dream of being so blithe as to send vines willy-nilly across the garden in a lazy sprawl, as the warm-weather melons are wont to do.
The young Dutch willow. Where once were three ancient trees, trunks two people could hug without touching, there’s now only this five year-old sapling, at one time merely a branch off the last of the surviving old ones, shoved bare into soft spring earth.
That last tree was blown over onto the house in a windstorm a few years ago. It fell gently, with only a low boom, and was polite enough to leave the roof unscathed save for a few shingles.
The grapevines are old, no one’s told me for sure just how old. Linda prunes them every spring, stripping them clean of wandering vines. They look bare and worrisome when she finishes, but the grapevines are pleased; in two months the new shoots will have covered the supporting wires and poles in a wall of vines and leaves.
Beneath the grapevines, tiger lilies poke up. I don’t know why they’re there, but they’re pretty. And “they’re pretty” is as good a reason there is to plant something.
If you can, plant something this Easter, or this week. Because it’s pretty.
What will you plant?