Spring, glorious Spring! I’m channelling Oliver Twist when he sang “Food, glorious food,” in the musical Oliver, my arms outstretched as I spin around. Are you familiar with the musical? Don’t worry, if my neighbours could hear me, they too would tell me to pipe down.
We all need Spring. We need warm days and trees budding and grass growing and blossoms exploding and … wait for it … my precious dandelions. I know you with your pristine lawns have a major hate on for the glorious dandelion. I haven’t a pristine lawn nor do I want one, and I adore dandelions. As I have said before, on more than one occasion, on probably too many occasions in your opinion, dandelions are sunshine growing on the ground. I won’t bore you with another round of dandelion facts, but I will mention the precious bee who desperately needs us to leave as many dandelions upright without herbicide as we can.
The trees are straining to burst into leaf, the tulips are stretching, and I can almost hear the blossoms getting ready to explode. We have coltsfoot in Nova Scotia. What a great name – coltsfoot. It is a small cheerful plant, though some call it a weed, that grows in disturbed areas, usually on road edges and the like. It first bursts into yellow flower and then grows its leaves. I like that; it has its priorities straight. Coltsfoot can bloom as early as February when conditions are right, a cheery sight as the days slowly start to get longer. I don’t remember coltsfoot growing up, so I looked it up and it doesn’t grow in northwestern Ontario. It isn’t native to Canada and was introduced from Europe in the 1920s. I guess that’s why I don’t remember it. But I do remember marsh marigolds who are native to Canada and love to grow in marshy areas. They were tough to pick for a bouquet without getting my boots full of water, but oh how I loved the marsh marigold. Still do. I don’t come upon them in my spring hiking travels here, another good reason to have stayed in northwestern Ontario.
Some years Spring lasts a day and then we are in full-on summer. Or the contrary, heat one day and snow the next. Today is much like that as I am writing this. Yesterday was spectacular and warm and lovely and invigorating and today it is cold and pouring rain and threatening snow and I am shivering and thinking of going back to bed as if I had wakened from hibernation to discover I was too early and need to return to the den to sleep it off.
I always hope Spring takes its time once it has arrived, that it might waddle instead of gallop, in no particular hurry, just meandering with no intention of ever leaving, dragging its fingers across my face, like the feeling I get when my daughters visit and I hope they never go home, that they lose their tickets and throw up their arms and decide to stay. I know that is highly unlikely, but I still imagine it every time they come. It has been far too long between visits now, for most of us. My arms ache on a daily basis and though I blame it on arthritis, I am more inclined to think it is from hug-neglect. I can’t use bad language in my thoughts on Covid-19, but I’d like to.
I know we’ll get through this. That life will again become something we recognize, and I will be able to hug my daughters and breathe them in and never again have to be separated by such uncertainty. Hang on, I whisper to myself. We’re almost there.