Every October, I get down on my hands and knees, and participate in an annual ritual that combines faith, hard work, and hope. Those who drive by our home may think I am praying in and around the different late season flowers. And in reality, I am on one level.
Every fall, I plant hundreds of spring bulbs. I dig holes at various depths and various sizes. Each one is for a different kind of spring bulb.
This past fall, I planted 565 new bulbs throughout our flower beds. They joined the thousands that have been planted before them. My goal is to have something blooming on the land from the earliest part of the spring all the way into June before the other perennials begin to flower.
I dug shallow holes for the species crocus on the south side of our house, where the ground, sheltered by the house, warms up first. These are the wild crocus and they come forth at the first hint of warmth within the soil. They are quickly followed by the large Dutch crocus, the favorites of the honey bees waking up from their winter hibernation.
Then, various kinds of daffodils from the little ones to the regal and classic King Alfred will bloom. Simultaneously, the early tulips and heirloom species tulips, the original wild ones, will open to reveal their beauty.
At the height of spring, the Darwin tulips, the classic red and pink tulips, will stand tall and make us all stop and admire their majesty. Later in the spring, we will see the Asiatic hybrid lilies flower as the rest of the perennial flowers open and celebrate the return of spring.
Before this spring miracle takes place, I spend many hours in mid-March back on my hands and knees cleaning off the winter detritus of leaves, spent flower stalks, and the normal winter kill that comes with the cold. Then, I spread a fresh layer of bark mulch so the spring moisture lasts long into summer and the weeds are suppressed.
As I participate in this annual spring ritual that started back in October, I am reminded of the lines from a poem called “Reverdure” by Wendell Berry from his book of poetry called The Clearing. As he writes about spring:
“An old grandmother
a little surprised
to be waking up again,
the ground slowly remembers
the shapes of grass blades,
stems, leaves, birds,
cattle, people, songs.”
This spring, after multiple years of living with the weight and challenges of a global pandemic, I celebrate the ground waking up and remembering crocus, daffodils, and tulips. I so enjoy the happiness and smiles that people show as they walk by our house with their dogs and families.
As the earth wakes up to spring, so do we. We remember that goodness still exists in the world, and that miracles happen each and every day. We just have to pause, spend a few minutes with some crocus, daffodils or tulips, and remember that the Divine is all around us. And we are blessed beyond measure to be a part of this change in the seasons.
Geery Howe, M.A.
Executive Coach in Leadership,
Strategic Planning, and
Morning Star Associates
319 - 643 - 2257