Spring buds

About this time of year, I start to get antsy for spring.  It is tempting here in Texas.  We have passed the worst of our winter weather and often, as we are now, are rewarded with a spurt of warm weather as if the region just doesn’t have the energy for maintaining the cold.  I am always frustrated that the regional nurseries seem to be linked to the weather cycle in colder regions, and while my yard is budding with new leaves, most of the nurseries are going to be buttoned up in “winter” mode until April.  Oh yes, I know, we are expected to have one more spurt of cold before the end of March – but having lived in much colder regions, I know that what passes for the last of the winter weather here, is by and large, mild enough that tender spring plants can be easily protected.  For most of my garden, the threat of another frost is irrelevant – it is 70 degrees in my garden now, and I cannot stop the buds and flush of new green from appearing even if I wanted to.  To make me even more antsy there are a handful of spring festivals that occur now – Imbloc, Tu b’Shevat are encouraging me to plant trees and generally have a spring frolic.

I often find myself comparing my own life to my garden. In the fall, I anxiously watch the weather and spend hours carefully transferring my precious potted babies into the shelter of the garage and coddle them with fluorescent lights and space heaters, holding out hope that the plants billed as annuals will indeed make it through the winter and be ready to rebloom in the spring for me.  I know that the marigolds are going to die regardless. The Basil that is so lovely now, will indeed die down to pathetic sticks and that there is no hope for the tomato and pepper plants no matter how wonderfully they are still producing in October.  I fight for the lost causes even when I know I am going to lose. I just can’t let things go.  Inevitably, when I discover in early December that the marigolds have indeed died, I am always somehow surprised, just as I am surprised when the realization hits me that something else I have kept past its time – a project that isn’t going to work, or a friendship that was based on the fragile conditions of work or place – has died.

I realized something this year about both my garden and myself.  Finding myself faced with the usual slew of dead pots, I found myself not focusing on what was, and what I had lost of the glorious summer garden, but instead saw the delicate beauty of the winter garden. The sculpted twists of the mini trees I have planted, waiting for the warmth of the sun to awaken them. The complex patterns of the roses against the walls, and the first lanky tops of the tulips pushing their way out from the mulch they were covered in all winter.  Yes there are dead branches and leaves that need to be cleared away, but the structure is still there, and those marigolds that died left seeds in their wake that will reawaken.  Seeds are in the rest of my life as well. Goals not met, dreams that were thwarted or changed – even the possibility that we may have to move this year  from the apartment with the garden I love so much – there are still the seeds of new things lying among the dead leaves in the rest of my life as well.  Perhaps I have finally reached the point where I have established enough of the underlying structures in both my garden, and the rest of my life that instead of  fighting the winter, I can simply flow with the seasons like the trees and when it freezes, protect my roots instead of mourning the flowers.