Monday, March 8, 2010

To Spring

My first--and probably last--crocus popped up this weekend, which got me to thinking about Spring and about the passage of time. I planted dozens of them in the woods out back of the house over a quarter of a century ago, and every Spring, like clockwork, they'd bloom among the leaves and the pinestraw and the little wild strawberries. But over the years they've been trampled by dogs and a kid, or eaten by squirrels and chipmunks, until I really didn't think there were any left. This little fella was a pleasant surprise Saturday morning.

I have photos from one Easter in the late '80s that shows we used to have a green lawn out back, too (but see kid, dogs, above), and a half a dozen flowering dogwood. Then Simply, Jr. grew up, four of the dogs went over the Rainbow Bridge, and anthracnose got the dogwoods.

Out front, we had this spectacular cherry tree that every Spring was a mass of pink blooms that seemed almost bigger than our little house. I once looked out my window to see it filled with Cedar Waxwings passing the petals to each other to eat like so much pink cotton candy. I remember when that tree arrived, so young and small it fit in the backseat of a car. We barely got it in the ground before a thunderstorm rolled in, and because we forgot to stake it, the wind tilted it a bit, and it has remained just a little off center ever since.

The person who gave us the tree and the person who helped us plant it that day are both dead, one of cancer and one of a heart attack. And after nearly 30 years the tree, too, has begun to die. The state extension people came out and said it was a fungus in the soil and that there was nothing we could do. Each Spring its blooms have gotten more sparse until this year it probably won't flower at all, for the first time in our life together at this house. Although it will break my heart to do it, we'll most likely have to cut it down this summer.

So much changes in 25 years. For one thing, Mr. Simply has gone bald. The daffodils my grandmother gave us to plant in the garden of our new home have gotten too old to bloom any more. And since those crocuses went in the ground, two dear friends and neighbors have gone in the ground, too, as have Dad's parents, Mr. Simply's parents, and my sister-in-law.

And we're getting older as well. This morning I noticed for the first time that I was shuffling--shuffling!--down the hall to the kitchen.

I eventually got my joints unlocked, though, and headed off to work. I had to stop the car halfway down the block to wait for a pair of cardinals having sex in the middle of the road.

So here's to Spring. . . and to the passage of time. As the old joke goes, beats hell out of the alternative.

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