It’s been a chilly, wet spring, with very occasional days of sunshine interspersed with mostly cold and rain, even snow far past the point of normalcy.
Normalcy. I think up until mid-March, I could probably define what that is. Now, I’m not sure.
Eventually, we humans normalize everything. And so it is here, as we, along with so many others, have adjourned from most human contact. We venture out very little, and when we do it is masked, gloves and with cleaning wipes in hand. It’s nearly impossible to imagine that just 2 months ago we were sharing food with friends and socializing.
I’m accepting of our new normal, but I miss our family and friends. And as I find my energy again I’m torn between loving some of this pause in the eternal busyness of my life, and wishing it would get back to normal for all of us.
Whatever normal is.
Despite that wish, there are so many joys in what I call the Land of Suspended Animation. Finding a free weekend day for yard work is no longer a problem. Feeling overbooked, or too busy other than my current work schedule is a nonissue. Since even a trip to the grocery store is a fraught experience, and up until recently no one could go anyway because of quarantine, we’ve opted for delivery for the last month, saving us time and energy, if costing more in tips for the hardworking Instacart delivery folks, to whom I am profoundly grateful.
Eventually we’ll have to venture out, but not yet.
Despite the odd pause that much of humanity is taking, Mother Nature is not. The world continues to bloom around me, despite the ongoing chill. The birds begin to sing in advance of dawn every morning. While the heat is still on inside, outside is becoming a riot of color. Myrtle is blooming everywhere, with tiny purple flowers among the deep green leaves, and naturalized daffodils and violas spring up in the strangest places. I check daily in the hopes of one tiny stalk peeking up, the harbinger of Asparagus season kicking off. And yesterday, there it was. It will be a few days before we can harvest, but there’s nothing like it to tell me that the world is moving on whether humanity is or not.
Spring is my best reminder of how many lifetimes Sithean has seen. The asparagus was planted over 60 years ago, the peach trees are older than that, It’s almost impossible to know how long the trench bed has been there. It may have been part of the original gardens back in 1850, long before the house moved to it’s current location, about 200 yards from where it was built. It gives me perspective on our relative impermanence here in the world, and how humanity is just a component.
This is just a moment.
My seedlings are getting big, and I transplant them to larger pots and containers at every opportunity. The tulip bulbs Eli and I planted last fall are starting to come up, including the checkered tulips, or Fritillaria meleagris that my neighbor and I were enchanted by during an outing for her birthday last year that bloom with their heads hanging down. I searched for until I found some for both of us, and we planted them last fall. “They’re up!” captioned a delighted picture from her a few days ago, so I went hunting for mine in the rain. I think I’ll add some more this year. It’s hard for Eli and I to get excited about digging into the rocky soil here in the chill of fall, but it’s worth it as each spring more and more flowers bloom because of it.
But despite all the movement and growth, here we sit. For as long as it takes, without having any idea of how long it will take, like hedgehogs in a perpetual winter hibernation or caterpillars in their chrysalis . Unlike hedgehogs though, our heart rates are fast, and anxiety is often high. Still, we have adjusted to the confines of our smaller world. I remind myself always to enjoy these moments, for they too, shall pass.
We cook. We talk. We work. What comes next I don’t know and there’s much I can’t control. But the garden will still grow and the flowers will still bloom, and for that I am grateful. This place is our stability from the storm, which may last far longer than all of us hope for. There’s so much I miss, but I find myself so grateful for this place and my family with me. We are tethered to this tiny piece of earth and one another, and it fills me with hope, always.
I wish the same for you.