I know it seems trite, but more than ever I appreciate the reminders of the natural world all around me. We have had but the faintest hint of winter, and the sun on snow that was largely absent was replaced by a lot more short gloomy days than normal.
Of course, there's no escaping that these are dark times. The sense of fear, dread and yes, outrage, is nearly ubiquitous. These are not new events in human history. But the planet has been here much longer than we have, and its systems large and small do what they do, in spite of our impacts. Since January a variety of flowers have bloomed in my yard. A diverse array of weeds that passes for my lawn are greening and stretching skyward, and a colorful collection of spring birds are supplanting the winter residents.
Over the decade that I've lived here, I've transplanted quite a few redbud tree saplings from places where they weren't wanted or wouldn't survive long. They are a native colonizer tree, growing fast on the margins between field and forest. I've learned that a bit of compost each year helps them grow even faster. Even as spring arrives a couple weeks early here in the Blue Ridge foothills, my redbud trees are mostly well taller than I, and are reaching their budding maturity. And so within a few days, my backyard will be ringed in a feathery wall of purplish pink. Already the buds are an exquisite delight to my senses. That cloud of blossoms will be a gift to my present self from the past me who thought that someday these would bring joy to me and others.
Indeed. How little I knew then, in my loving labors of dirty hands, how very much I would need and appreciate that.