Last spring

Friday I was able to get out for a few hours, for probably my last chance to take Spring photos. At the Gardens, the flowers were in their last glorious song before petals falling and giving away to the hotter, lusher tones and heat of the summer plants.


We talk about four seasons, but our time is marked by a finer granularity. There is Spring, true, but there is the beginning of Spring when we’re teased by the first green peeking through the ground. The hearty but delicate looking crocus is queen then, as we hedge our hopes for early warmth against the knowledge that if we hope for Spring, winter will come in one last time.


Then there’s mid-Spring, when the daffodils are in full bloom, but the tulips are nothing more than curvy spears of green sticking out of the dirt. Here in Missouri, daffodils grow wild–the last remnant of the settlers and others who farmed this land and when they reached a point where not every bit of work had to go to survive, they planted flowers. Just because.


When the tulips come out, we’re just past mid-Spring, into full Spring. Now if we have a snow, we know it’s a freak occurrence, and we can even look at it with some tolerance–as bright yellow and red, or rich pink and purple tulips appear above the white.

I like how a tulip dies. Its petals curl out and under, and it exposes the bright bullet of color that surrounds its stamen–no longer trying to protect it’s innermost secrets from such large and crude creatures such as ourselves.


When I die I want to die like a tulip. I want to die when it’s warm, but not hot. I want to be naked and brightly painted, lying down on the grass with my legs spread wide. And then I want to be found quickly, while the petal is still on the stem, so to speak.



Now is the last of Spring, when the petals fall and the smell in the air is just on the edge between being rich and cloying. This is the last burst of Spring–it’s call to glory. The bees are so heavy with pollen, they can barely fly.


Spring is a messy time of the year. Things sprouting all over, a riot of color, and then the flowers and their inconsiderate dropping of petals, just anywhere. I imagine an obsessive-compulsive gardener would have to take Valium this time of year.


It’s a peaceful time of the year. Even with the birds and the color and the smell and the never-ending storms. I think it’s the warmth and the perfect balance between the dryness of winter and the humidity of summer.


Friday, when I was down by the Japanese lake, a rust-red bird was flying about in the trees. I’d never seen a bird like this, and luckily it stayed still long enough for me to get a few pictures.



The next time I go to the Gardens, it will be summer. Not the calendar Summer–the first stage of real Summer. When the lilies start appearing, and the tulips are long gone, and the butterflies and dragonflies take the field. It won’t be too hot yet. But it will remind me that a year has gone by.


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