March arrived this week amid intermittent flurries from a thick overcast of confectionery clouds. Spotty drifts and piles of snow still cover the ground from an earlier glance from the blizzard that buried communities further west, with mulch and turf appearing in equal balance. Flakes fill occasional crooks throughout the garden, but it seems that most of the flurries did little more than dance on the breeze.
The air has been unmistakably full of winter, uncomfortably cold. It may be years sneaking up on me, but I don’t enjoy cold much anymore. Its refreshing rush into the lungs is tempered by an unpleasant ache in my bones. I sat yesterday staring through patio doors into the backyard snow globe for far longer than normal, the warmth of the house winning the battle with my desire to be in the garden.
When I finally threw on boots and a work coat and walked around the house, I found a garden full of life more willing than I to brave the cold.
On second thought, it’s not bravery. Bravery implies choice, and the garden’s inhabitants are operating purely on genetic programming. The tulips, daffodils, Huechera, Bergenia and Sedum that have sprung through the snow are responding to changes in day length and soil temperature, a mindless reaction to their environment.
As I sit here on another cold albeit bright Sunday morning, with my chilly feet inches from the heating duct, I can feel my instinct wanting to end this winter’s hibernation. It instructs me to follow the ephemerals; only then can I break the growing cabin fever under my skin.
I must reawaken, shed the title of observer and once again become a participant, even if my bones complain.