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“Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don’t they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers.”

Ray Bradbury. Dandelion Wine. 

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DSCN8157Sunday.

Mother’s Day.

One of those mellow days of love and recognition that seemed to flow slowly and deliberately into a forever memory.

After Sunday worship, we went to Jennifer and Jason’s for brunch. Egg strata, bacon, salad and Mimosa’s. As I sipped and savored, I remembered another Mother’s Day, more than three decades past, where a toddling Jennifer brought me breakfast in bed. On that long ago morning,  I opened my eyes to a wee darling saying “happy Mother’s Day Mommy” as she slowly settled a plate of breakfast in front of me.

I remember it vividly.

A dollop of strawberry yogurt with Cheerios on top, toast, and a few slices of hard salami on the side.

This year; mimosas, egg strata, salad, coffee and Kringles.

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On our way home, Tom and I stopped at Lilacia Park in Lombard, where it is lilac time. Though the skies were gray and it was cool, the lilacs and tulips were resplendent.

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I took too many photos. Everywhere I looked was color and contrast, statements of nature painted on every stem, beads of moisture clinging to petals and leaves, a concert of color singing all-the-more brightly in the absence of sun. You can imagine my bliss as I tiptoed among the tulips, my indulgent and supportive  husband at my side.

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Each May, I wander the curved flagstone path and watch for the fern-like leaves hidden among the garden litter. First the stems  poke through, then the leaves, dancing like a whisper in the wind. The first bud reaches out like a balled fist against the fickle moods of spring. Then, while I am occupied elsewhere, pulling weeds or under the beguiling fragrance of the  lily of the valley blooms, it happens. The ephemeral peony, Laddie,  ( Paeonia peregrine) is suddenly in bloom, waving at me – or, perhaps at the bleeding hearts hanging out nearby.

Did you ever see a Laddie?

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Daffodils:front in sunWhat wonders these are; these daffodils and the changing light, a patch Lily-of-the-valley hugging the brick wall and the Bleeding Hearts getting ready to set forth their lovely blossoms.  Oh, the promises spring holds in the slowly emerging seeds of the earth and the color of cardinal’s wing or the calling of a mourning dove.

Oh, we complain.  It is too cold! No, not more snow! The rains never cease and the creek overflows. Spring spawns devastating tornadoes. We hover over clothes: winter wear today or summer? Both?  We ache from the early over exuberance of tending our gardens, or freeze when the sun is out but the temperatures are still hovering at 40 degrees. We paint our toenails, and our fingernails, too, for the dirt under them lingers no matter how hard we scrub. Hand lotions and epsom salts temper our eagerness – and then we go outside for more.

As much as I love springtime, I honestly think I love it the most when it unfurls slowly. I would miss the long-lasting display of daffodils and the sweet thrill of discovering that the celandine poppies have begun their show.

DSCN7973I would rue missing that moment where, suddenly, there is the Brunnera Langstree beginning his show and the sweet blossoms are gathering in the Donald Wyman Crab, also aka Kezzie’s tree, for it was planted when she was born. I would miss the steady show of the common periwinkle. the tentative tips of Mayapples and the steady climb of clematis.

It has been that kind of spring; the slowly emerging kind. While I long for warmer days, I am relishing these remarkable days of a new adventure with each new bud and blossom that appear overnight. I have enjoyed bringing flowers from the garden indoors, in large bunches and in small handfuls. Joy Supreme.

Crabapple:David Wyman:BudsBrunnera Langstee

If spring came too quickly, I would not have noticed the flitting and fussing over the backdoor eave and the conversations of is there or isn’t there?

The first inkling of activity came when our Minnesota family were in. Kezzie and I were walking past the garage when something flitted by. We both said an “Oh. What was that?” I suspected a robin.  From where I sit at the table, I could see it darting and dashing past the window, just over Tom’s head as he ate. When the car pulled into the drive, there was that flash of activity.

Yesterday, after we took a walk down to the stables, I looked up, over the door, in the sheltering eave, and there was Mama Robin was looking right back at me.

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Yes, indeed, I would miss all this drama and beauty if spring unfurled too quickly.

What would you miss?

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Well, now, I just assumed we all celebrate Arbor Day at the same time. Silly me.

Here is a neat little map that shows when Arbor Day is in your neck of the woods.  Click here to find your state’s date with a tree, then, go plant a tree, visit an arboretum, garden or zoo, recycle paper, take walk in the woods, breath a little lighter – or just give thanks for trees in our lives, wherever you may live.

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.

Henry David Thoreau

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Whiteout

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An icy chill settled in last night.  We brought out the coats and gloves that we wish were by now relegated to the deepest corners of our closets, put on sweaters, and groaned. Here and there were flurries; mere whispers of snow. Hereabouts we know it would not be unusual to have a snowstorm in April. Those who had hanging baskets, or tender annuals in pots, were encouraged to put them in garages. Tender perennials wore sheets and blankets, all tucked into their beds, guarding them against a late frost.

 On Monday, however, it was warmer. After an early morning commitment, then a meeting, and in spite of the strong winds and cloudy skies, a quick stop at the Arboretum was just what I needed. A balm for my deprived gardening soul.

It was quiet; a rare opportunity at such a popular destination. With a few hearty hikers and clusters of schoolchildren on arboreal field trips, all in their colorful jackets and rain slickers, collecting seeds and observing the emerging plants, I was as rare as sunshine as I waddled around the paths and motored about the slow, winding lanes.

I love these moments in nature; the quiet ones in which I seem to have God’s kingdom to myself.  Of course, I don’t, but you already know that I have an abundantly overactive imagination, which was in full throttle on Monday afternoon.

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The flowering trees were decked out as if waiting for their dates to the prom and the daffodils were so abundant and colorful that they took my breath away.

DSCN7960 - Version 3The Redbud trees were in that whisper stage where they are blushing softly and thinking about making their grand entrance soon. The forsythia have been abundantly colorful this year, while the magnolias, well, the magnolias always seem to suffer in a northerly clime, but, even they were hanging on tight.

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With a threatening sky that looked like snow, the whites of this time of blossoms seemed to defy Mother Nature and proclaim “I’m here, I’ve been  waiting far too long for my time to dance and swing and way, so, I’m wearing my best dress anyway. ” 

Flowering tree in full bloom

So, for today, though the yellows and purples are certainly out and about, I hope you don’t mind if I just show you the many versions of Snow White’s gowns, languishing about, just waiting to dance with the sun.

Hydrangea against window:visitor center Birch and pussy willowsClose up of white daffodil:garden:2 snowdrops:zoo

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Unknown`

“This we know: All things are connected like the blood that unites us.  We did not weave the web of life.  We are merely a strand in it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.”

Attributed to Chief Seattle.

Cover image from Susan Jeffer’s “Brother Eagle, Sister Sky”.

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