Sunday, May 17, 2009


It seems time is being pick-pocketed away as we speak. Time for relaxing. Time for friends, flowers and fragrances. I’d love to blame spring, but it is not spring’s fault. It’s mine.
I do stop to smell the proverbial roses, actually no roses are blooming here yet. Last Sunday in the midst of disassembling the greenhouse, Michael brought a blossom from the ‘Loderi’ rhododendron for me to smell. It wasn’t a rose, but what a delight to dip my nose into the vanilla ice cream sweetness of that flower. A brief pleasure before I resumed my chores, planted lettuce, mustard greens and spinach, dumped out the faded tulips, potted cuban oregano, cooked dinner, folded clothes and collapsed after losing at Scrabble to Michael (he always wins).
Monday morning the black cat woke me. He was crying at the door. Michael says I spoil him by getting up at 5 a.m. to let him in. But he’s my alarm clock; he gets me out of bed early and gives me the time he pilfered from the night while I slept. I went out on the porch to enjoy this half hour of extra time, to breath it in and to listen to it. The gentle rain had drummed a green fragrance off the earth, off the plants, maybe even off the birds, whose chorus is so seamlessly loud to drown out my early morning mind’s list making: do this, do that; and do the other thing. I breath in this overall sweetness of spring, trying not to name or discern where it comes from. In these few minutes before my day begins I get to enjoy the beginning of springs day, to acknowledge that spring is not demanding anything of me but to breath and to listen.
Having worked in nurseries for years, and as a gardener even longer I have come to think of spring as something to be rushed through. By mid-May I am usually unsprung and disgruntled with spring for being so demanding. This year is no different. The say one sign of madness is expecting different results from the same behavior. This year , with the help of the cat, I’m trying to change that pattern. Trying to see spring not as demanding but giving. I have been told I’m stubborn, not likely to change any time soon. So if I introduce the idea of spring being generously gentle in half hour increments, at a time of day I don’t need to use, maybe I will begin to see spring differently. So as not to miss this opportunity I let the cat wake me in the deliciously dim hour of 5 a. m. when I could have stayed in bed. I go out on to the porch face the mountains to the east and breath in spring’s generosity. I enjoy what spring does best: sing in a most beautiful fragrance.
By the time I breakfasted and dressed for work the black cat had fallen into curled up sleep, and I started checking off the first thing on my list of things to do: load the truck.

As the week hurdled forward, or was it me hurdling forward through the week which lied tranquilly in May? I lost track of my goal. It’s spring after all and I have a lot to do. So exhaustion led to sleeping in, even the black cat did not want to be out all night, so my alarm system wasn’t working. Yet still I found time to stop, because it’s lilac time on the farm. We have over 15 varieties in the hedgerow and when they bloom it is near impossible to ignore, and even harder not to stop to smell the lilacs. My mind raced around for a while trying to find the perfect metaphor for the fragrance of lilacs. But it is not fruity, nor musky, nor sugary (though it is sweet). It did not remind me of my grandma’s soap, nor an apertif I once drank in Paris. Nor did it remind me of my old friend Susan, nor June on my parent’s farm. The bright honest fragrance, took me aback with it’s immediacy. It stole a moment from my precious activity, like my cat steals time from the night, like mice, and brings it to the back door. The lilacs did not need to steal time form me, though. I stuck my hand in my pocket and gave. And got spring back in return.

I swore I'd never post a picture of my cat , but here he is Rubus, aka Bubu.