Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March Fourth

March is my favorite month. Some might say that I am biased because it is my birthday month. I think that I chose March to be born in because March is full of veiled, arcane signs of wonders to come. Some days he teases us with them and on other days he hides them away. But always I know that March is really spring, sometimes hesitantly and sometimes convincingly, wearing a mask of winter. For March has never failed to bring to these hills the magical miracle of winter finally giving up and surrendering to springtime.

How can I not be amazed by the transforming breath of March that seems to turn a drop of snow into a flower? The Snowdrop, the bravest bud of all, is the blossom of this month. While all the other vegetation is still sleeping, not reaching upward until April, May or June, the Snowdrop has, for quite some time, been about his lonely, arduous journey of surmounting the snow. This outwardly, delicate beauty seems to have been yearning for spring, in its inner most being, for such a long time that come March it cannot restrain itself from insisting that springtime is here! Even though the others of its kind, insist that it is not.

They must assume that the Snowdrop is foolish but oh what elation I believe the Snowdrops knows. The Snowdrop is so courageous that it ostensibly laughs at winter and even though the world around him is still weeping and cold with despair the Snowdrop has faith that it is spring and so to him, it is. Thus this humble flower holds the secret that if you believe, you will receive. Appearing so small, so timid, how strong these tiny little sprouts really must be to bear the ice, the frost, the cold harsh force of winter and to joyfully bloom in spite of them all.

Indeed, The Creator has endowed the Snowdrop with everything that it needs, to be the forerunner, bestowing it with hardiness and with very sturdy, pointed tips with which to push through the crusts of snow. My soul would be in dark despair indeed if I did not drop to my knees some sweet day in March to bask in the beauty of this, the most optimistic of all flowers, which in the language of the flora and fauna bears the greatest message of all, the message of hope.

It is also in March, when those Snowdrops push up from the earth, that I am inspired to go outside and sickle down the old, dead growth of last autumn’s flowers so that the new shoots can be seen. I am a lazy type of gardener and one who likes to see natural things in my landscape. I leave the autumn flower stalks where they grew so that I can admire how the fall aster’s skeletons hold the January snows, turning themselves into white winter flowers. During the cold winds of February the dry shells of the columbines and the primroses rattle, making a gentle, rhythmic, thudding sound. So it is not until March that I shatter the snippets of last year’s dried foliage while the cardinal sings down to me from the highest limbs of the wild cherry tree,
“Prettier, Prettier, Prettier!”

When the snow is melting, I carry packets of Larkspur and annual Forget- Me- Not in my pockets and tuck these little black seeds into loose spots of soil. I like planting them here and there to create the rambling, cottage style gardens that I adore. I must do it all by hand as these little plants do not self-sow for me, I believe that they like a sweeter soil than mine. It is desirable to plant these seeds early as they need the cold nip of frost, it cracks their tough shells. They will also only sprout in the dark so I push each one of them down into a tomb of soil and cover them with a grave blanket of leaves and moss.

As I do this I am reminded that sometimes us humans, just like these seeds, will only sprout up after a time of cold and dark. The dark days are not all in vain but are meant to prepare us to bloom sturdily, in our season, as The Creator longs for us to bloom. And so it is that when my birthday comes around again every year on March the 4th I am reminded by the command within the date to march forth with renewed vigor just as the March flowers do. And to clasp tight to the hope that thrives in my heart, that winter, in humans, just like in the gardens, is preordained to melt away, at last, into spring.

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