It’s that time of year again, a time when nature attempts to redirect my attention.
The color red blazes. Red symbolizes romance. Candy, flowers, cards, follow undying declarations of love. Hearts of lovers swell with affection. Love has its day. Valentine’s Day hang-over begins…
Welcome to no man’s land. Spring is still far away but pollen filters through the air. The mind, tricked into thinking spring is near, yearns for adventures out of doors. Sinuses ‘spring’ a leak, causing a myriad of problems for weeks on end, and evenings bring rise to the glorious song of the whippoorwill.
Hark, what silhouette on yonder horizon brings? Look up in the sky! It’s a plane! It’s Captain Jack! No. It’s Birds!
Black birds have been descending upon my lawn, searching for seeds, worms, anything nutritious. Like a cluster of pepper in white gravy, the fluctuating spectacle bubbles and streams, reminding bird watchers of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Will I get pecked to death, if I go check the mail? It’s so hard living in the country.
Birds like my porch, you see. Early in the morning, birds sing outside my bathroom window. The melodic chant holds promise, like the movie Mary Poppins or Enchanted. I catch myself singing, "Just a spoonful of sugar..." Warmer weather is but weeks away, however, proving my jovality senseless. How do birds understand time? Are they privy to the predictions of the Almanac? Are birds related to Punxsutawney Phil?
Intrigued, I study these marvels as they perch in numbers upon my climbing Honeysuckle, feathers plumped, scalp locks fanning in the breeze. Alerted, too, are my cats who sit like sentinels at the bottom of my windows, scrutinizing the sense of their prey. Even a cat seems to know an Indian winter when he sees one. And yet, against my will, these birds make my heart race at the thought of the colorful display my garden might provide if I gird my loins and go outside and do the work.
“Do not coerce me, heathen! I am not ready to venture out of doors!”
No, I’d much rather stretch out on the couch with a good romance, a research or writing book, under a soft, cozy blanket with a mug of hot tea or hot chocolate. But birds, however, are not to be appeased. They do not know or care how hard I must toil in the soil in order to save my flower beds. Still these birds cry for seed, which we willingly provide, in honor of the next generation of annuals and perennials.
Ode to neglected flower beds. “Medic!”
Just when you think nothing can fix your garden, mixed within last year’s branching skeletons are green sprigs of tulips, daffodils and creeping thrift. In a month’s time, clematis will begin to creep and leap, producing large blooms which will draw splendorous attention. Yes, not long from now, my out-of-doors will resemble a Shang-ri-la after Medics or Gnomes have ‘cleared’ the way. I remind myself at this time of year, without bees, there would be no honey, no pollen. Without birds, there would be no rich music to be heard, no volunteers to enhance the fertile scene around my home.
It’s that time of year again. Time to reflect on what makes love great, what sets a garden apart, and what makes a great book. Everything unto its season, right?
Right now, though I tremble at the thought of the work needed to prepare my garden, my muse is dropping seeds (story ideas) and creating a beautiful hybrid (plot). As my new book idea blackens out all else like pepper in white gravy, the ideas layer in my mind, like the bones of a garden. Medic! I call upon a writing friend who soothes the savage beast and assures the bones are ready to be fleshed out. With a little love, the seeds of my plot germinate and the new book takes form, historical romance. Will it be an annual or a perennial? That remains to be seen. But in the end, I’ll be able to stand back and enjoy the glorious spectacle, the colorful spectrum created by the written word.
Which garden are you interested in planting? Will it involve a Medic or a shovel? And will you be doing the dirty work or hiring out?