Sunday, October 15, 2023

The Crocuses are Coming! The Crocuses are Coming!

By K. Taylor, Aurora ON. I peeked outside today; nudged my head out the door; sniffed at the air like a groundhog with the world watching; and tentatively stole a step or two outside. The kids were already out there, basking in the warm rays of sun that spilled onto our back step. The raw ground, freshly freed from retreating snow was littered with blocks and wheels and all sorts of contraptions from games far too complex for my middle aged brain.

I stepped gingerly, trying to avoid lingering puddles. There is still some snow, that heavy, icy resilient kind; but it is huddled in the shade of the fence now. Slowly we are reclaiming our space. Between the bricked paths, patches of damp earth have reappeared. There is already an ample supply of plant life, the residue of last fall. Some hearty souls, Deadnettle for example, always seem to be green no matter what time of year. I envy it’s spirit, winter seems to turn me to brown.

And so for a minute I stood and breathed in the crisp air, listened to the children’s chatter and shivered in the April breeze, so happy to be outside and feel happy at the same time!

“I love crocuses for this very reason.”

I actually almost missed it, so tiny and hidden. It would have been so easy to miss, but as I turned, my eye caught a sight that was truly worth stepping outside for. Barely nosing its head above ground was the tiniest crocus. I’m not ashamed to say that I quickly scrambled onto my knees, put my hands in the damp earth and my face down low. In that moment I was just desperate to have a closer look, to know that it wasn’t an illusion, to know that really and truly, the earth is waking up. Crocuses?

I love crocuses for this very reason. Crocuses are our very first reminders that we did it! We made it through! Hooray! They are drops of heaven pushing up from a frozen ground. Once, years ago when we were awaiting test results, I came home from work to see the first delicate blooms; that night we got the good news that the results had come back clear. So I’m a little biased in my admiration, but how can anyone not love these brave little flowers, sprouting forth joy and promise even as the snow still swirls?

“In that moment I was just desperate to have a closer look, to know that it wasn’t an illusion, to know that really and truly, the earth is waking up.”

Delicate yellow flowers, paler than butter. I hadn’t expected them to grow. When I first spotted the cluster of emerald leaves, still huddled together as if wrapped tight with a piece of string a few weeks ago, the tops were suspiciously sheared, as if a little mouth had nibbled hungrily. I had my doubts that I would ever see the flowers. In past years sharp little teeth had made light work of tasty heads. In my mind I see bunched fur; long twitching ears on the alert, sparkling eyes. I’ve never caught the fiends, never glimpsed the retreat of a puffy white tail as it hops into the shrubbery; but I’m certain that there were bunnies at work, and they were welcome. If the sight of those green shoots sent my heart into giddy raptures just think what eating them must do to the spirit?

But they’ve left me one or two this year. Or perhaps they just haven’t found them yet. No matter, the bunnies are welcome to them, should they come. If happiness really is in the small things then my happiness at this moment is wrapped up in cheerful yellow petals, and this is just the beginning.

K. Taylor
Aurora, ON

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