Spring Beauty

Claytonia lanceolata
Spring Beauty, Claytonia lanceolata

It feels like spring advances and retreats. After a sunny day, the return to snow showers seems like backsliding. Perceptions are as dynamic as the weather: sunny, cloudy, windy, pouring rain. If you don’t like what’s happening now, just wait five minutes.

That’s the nature of spring. In fact, the days are sliding inexorably toward midsummer. A pair of bluebirds is spending time around one of my Grampa-built birdhouses. Some of the 99 daffodils I planted last fall in Gramma’s memory are blooming. I’ve been harvesting wintered-over kale and other greens from the garden tunnel, and the yard is awash in violets. My energy for home and garden projects rises on bright days and is dampened on days like today as wet flakes dribble from the pale sky.

It’s the same at work. On sunny days we can’t wait to get out to the trails, and chafe at the office work that keeps us inside. On days when we do get out, we find that the road to the trailhead is still snowed in, or it’s raining buckets. The rivers and creeks are running high as the snow melts. As winter disappears, spring beauties follow the edge of the snow, blooming with their close associates the glacier lilies.

Beauty, especially spring beauty, is consolation for all the uncertainty. Uncertainty at the job–the continuous budget battles and shifting priorities of the political landscape wear a person down. Uncertainty in my small circle of coworkers/friends as a colleague’s wife battles cancer. I rarely listen to the news any more because the media brings me stories of things that feel so messed-up and wrong. All I know is that I keep going to work in order to stand up for the stewardship of public land and wild things, support my friends, live as simply and mindfully as I can, and bring my full attention to flowers and rain and birdsong. When I put my fingers in the soil to plant a seed, pull a weed, feel the sun’s warmth I know I have touched something that is going right in the world. The return of spring beauties is another thing that is right in the world. Seeing their white and pink petals threaded with ruby red is music to my soul.

4 thoughts on “Spring Beauty

  1. “..consolation for all the uncertainty.” really hits the spot; well put!

    Part of what I love about this time of year is sheer arbitrariness of nature, along with the sweet rewards; the scents of violets, the astounding light quality,and more of it.
    Then – the W* ND kicks in, and I retreat to house and cats.

    1. Arbitrary, yes! The light has been amazing, with big clouds and snow squalls, and absolute clarity on the ridges. Lots of breathtaking little moments…

  2. Your last few sentences hold the key. The earth is doing well. When we touch it, that is the message we feel. It is the only message worth listening too. It is the only message that is true. Thank you for reminding us to keep our attention on the flowers, the rain and the birdsong.

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