It’s about time, Mother Nature! You must have finally been paying attention to all the hoopla about “Going Green” and decided to give it a try because everywhere there is, indeed, green!
Not all at once
This hasn’t happened all at once. I watched the barberry hedges begin to sport a filmy veil that gradually evolved into minuscule leaves. Tips of daffodils and hyacinths slowly pushed through sometimes still frozen soil.
Once the snow undressed the grass, it showed slightly green, and in the pasture Apache and Toby searched for and found succulent green salad.
Rabbits made their own purple salad from the crocus blossoms and tiny leaves unfurled on the lilacs. If you squint just a little and look at the tops of the trees, they are slightly blurry, and the angles of the bare-branched jungles are softening into a greenish haze replacing the black lace.
There are so many signs that the worst is over, even though April can dish up some dandy imitations of winter. We’ve seen the trumpets of daffodils filled with snow and we’ve seen the nesting goose huddled beneath a white blanket.
I have stood on the back porch on a snowy pre-spring evening to listen for the woodcock and this year I did hear him on March 13.
But I’ve not heard him since. He surely left for a more tranquil location after the horrendous racket of the St. Patrick’s Day parade on the 15th. (I almost left myself!)
The little Christmas tree that has been tethered to the wisteria vine since doing its indoor duty has been unleashed and returned to the jungle where it will eventually break down into more jungle.
The mowers have returned from the shop and will wait quietly until their duty time begins — and that time goes on and on until next November!
Every day the goldfinches are more golden. Every day the morning birdsong swells a little louder. Every day the woodpeckers chow down more suet as they ready for the nesting season, and on mornings when the water in the birdbath has turned to ice, the doves walk around and around the rim, trying to figure out what happened!
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As Easter approaches, we can’t help reminiscing, even though I long ago — actually 22 years ago when I began writing this column — promised myself I would not surrender to the ease of writing about what once was and try to keep up with the present. But an occasional surrender is OK, isn’t it?
The Easter hymns I hear on the radio take me back to the innocence of choir practice, to the hope a certain boy would be there, to the uphill walk to church while wearing my first high-heeled shoes (I remember they were blue suede), to the first solo I had to sing with the congregation staring at me, to my parents trying to smile away my nervousness, to seeing the corsage of English violets my mother wore, my father’s traditional gift to her.
Mother’s menus for special occasions were classic and memorable and she kept a written record, which I cherish.
For Easter dinner on March 27, 1937, she served roast pork, mashed potatoes, applesauce, radishes, pear-lime Jell-O with cheese eggs in Easter nest of shredded lettuce, yellow angel food cake with Easter design of hen on coconut nest with pastel eggs, etc.
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Can you bear to learn a bit more about Bingo who has “moved in” with a vengeance? (She’s at the moment standing on the disk drive and watching me work!) She follows me wherever I go.
One of her first hiding places when she was still nervous was behind my old claw-footed bathtub. I couldn’t find her for hours and it took a whiff of salmon juice to lure her out.
Now the narrow opening she had managed to squeeze in — and squeeze out — is blocked with detergent bottles, a plastic tub and a gallon jug of bleach.
But she is still determined to get back there, and walks around the rim of the tub, staring down the crack between the tub and wall.
She can’t stand a closed door. It must be opened. She is still nervous about company, but I’m hoping she’ll outgrow that.
In the evening she curls up beside me on the couch, just as dear Lisa did, and checks out every inch of Winnie who is curled up on her end of the couch.
More often than not, I’ll awaken in the morning to find her on the bed. Lisa had many catnip toys, and Bingo has inherited them, throwing herself upon them, kicking and slobbering — what fun!
One afternoon, Winnie was standing in the kitchen when Bingo came racing from the living room and ran right under WInnie’s belly, which should tell you all is well between them.
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Since the next column will be after Easter, I’ll wish you now that the promise of the Resurrection gives you hope in these scary times, and that you will find the light at the end of your tunnel.