My determination to move all the house plants out to the porch or deck by Easter was thwarted by the weather.
Although I had put a few pots out to sun during the warm days of recent weeks, those have now been returned to the house. My goal of getting plants outside and giving the sunroom a good cleaning is now a chore for a future day — one that I hope comes soon.
Dogwood winter has me, along with the plants, sitting by the windows wondering when we will again bask in the sun. I am glad Dick and I got the early garden planted a few weeks ago. Pea vines are trailing along the rows, broccoli stalks lengthen in the sunlight and rain, and lettuce and spinach have sprouted. The latter two are still too small to eat, but day-by-day, as our appetites for fresh greens increase, so does the size of the miniature leaves.
A handful of lettuce and spinach, freshly picked and washed and tossed in a salad, is as fine a gourmet treat as anyone could wish, at least for the time being until tomatoes ripen.
Warm days with temperatures hovering around the upper 70s or even 80 spoiled us. Wool socks and flannel pajamas don’t seem proper attire in April, though when the overnight temperatures dip into the 30s I am grateful I haven’t yet stored all my warm clothes — another chore I keep planning for a future date.
As Robert Frost wrote in “Two Tramps in Mud Time” ... “You know how it is with an April day / when the sun is out and the wind is still, / you’re one month on in the middle of May. / But if you so much as dare to speak, / a cloud comes off the sunlit arch, / a wind comes off a frozen peak, / and you’re two months back in the middle of March.”
At best, I tolerate cold in January and February. I am far less tolerant in April. As with excessive cold or heat, rain or drought, there is nothing I can do about the weather — though I must admit that knowledge doesn’t prevent my complaining loudly and frequently. Fortunately, Dick has learned to tolerate me even while I refuse to tolerate unseasonable spells.
Tolerating one another seems to be a subject for discussion in many households these past few weeks. Had we all been ordered to “shelter in place” back in January when truly cold weather was the order of the day, many husband-wife and parent-child relationships would surely have been tested.
Now we have the blessings of nature all around us, even if we do have to put on a lightweight jacket to enjoy the outdoors. Bronze, yellow and lavender irises are filling the gaps left by the fading purple iris. Chartreuse spirea glows in the increasing shade of a maple, and in what was once a well-kept wildflower bed (is well-kept an oxymoron as used with wildflower?), Virginia bluebells, Solomon seal and money-plant (Lunaria) poke through the cover of dead leaves to add color and light to the shady area.
Though Dick and I seldom leave the farm, when we do have to go out, we drive the back roads for their gift of green wooded areas, trimmed lawns and carefully curated flower beds. We are heartened by the sight of others weeding and mowing. One warm day we enjoyed seeing a family in their driveway busily cleaning a boat, getting it ready for the warm weather that will sooner or later allow them to be out on the lake.
Personally, I’m monitoring the lake temperature and dreaming of the day I can once again swim laps. The closing of the Claire Donahue pool at the end of February, and the subsequent closing of other indoor pools due to the coronavirus, put an end to my favorite exercise.
Even if I’m not swimming, just being outdoors for few hours outdoors each day is balm for frayed nerves or for just plain boredom, though I’ve yet to figure out how anyone can be bored when there are books to be read or closets to be cleaned or bread, cake and cookies to be baked. And there are lists to be made, the chores that pile up as we wait for truly warm weather to return.
By next week, surely, the house plants will be outdoors and we will all be digging and planting our summer gardens, the dream of life returning to normal drawing closer each day.