Sunday, February 27, 2011

you, percy bysshe shelley!

Kaye reports, from Wisconsin, that they've had snow on the ground since early November, and sends the season's second set of photos to document the depth on their deck, in front of the barn, and in the woods. Her trees look tired.

I have the gall to reply: "In bloom right here right now: azaleas, camillias, freesias, nasturtiums, sweet peas, tomatoes, violets, pansies, calla lilies, dogbane, african basil, and various succulents." I forgot to mention the sweet alyssum, the strawberries, and four varieties of lavender but will not send an update, as Kaye's response ("No. . . you cannot call that winter!") does not sound receptive though she invites us to visit in April or May.

A trip to the mid west in April would be a great treat. Lilacs, peonies, and tulips are among the spring flowers I miss most, but they will not grow in our temperate climate.

Yesterday's Prairie Home Companion, broadcast from San Diego, poked fun at SoCal's current winter storm. They had "some rain," said Garrison Keillor, noting the sailboats in the bay and the palm trees in the canyons, the natives in their woolens and the tourists in their shorts and sandals.

Personally I think the worst of our winter hasn't happened yet. Our coldest nights often come during the first two weeks of March. On warm days I celebrate fring (the green days that start with our rainy season), but I will not acknowledge the change of seasons until the vernal equinox.

To misquote Shelley's Ode to the West Wind,* "If winter comes, spring can be far behind," as Kaye is undoubtedly thinking.

Meanwhile the ranunculi are sending up blossom stalks with fat buds, and the hyacinths have healthy leaves since I cleared out so many of the Stars of 
Bethlehem that were crowding them. One of last year's hollyhocks is standing about 18" tall, and looking like it wants to send up a blossom stalk.
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*I had forgotten that the poem is a set of five sonnets. When those romantic poets "recollected in tranquility," as Wordsworth prescribed, they brought form to their "strong emotion" and thus made it even stronger.

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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License