Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring Sprung Anew

Post 89

Here is my front yard in early spring, which I count as early April in Northwest Philly.  White and gold daffodils bloom with cerulean Siberian squill--both cheapish bulbs that once planted, thrive and slowly spread .

Peter Rabbit has been back many times, perhaps I have a lot of tender shoots for him to nibble on. It seems that last year there were a few rabbits down the block and now there are more than a few all over the block. At some point I may have to get Farmer McGregorish, but for now I am enjoying the company.  They are wild and beautiful and so far have only eaten some crocus and one tulip, which seems small fare for the pleasure of their company.

Aren't these great crocus? They are in my neighbor's garden, backdropped by late sun and completely uneaten. I need to find out what they are and widen their spread. I am lucky to now have gardening neighbors. When I first moved in it was pachysandra, ivy and grass as far as the eye could see. One long gone neighbor even told me the soil was poisoned! Well, I proved that wrong, new neighbors moved in and now we have three front gardens in a row with lots of  perennials and shrubs to keep what small bits of wildlife we have around happily wildlifing. One couple is older but still does a lot of the work themselves; the other couple is younger but has other houses and interests and are generous enough to have a service come in a few times a year to beat back the prolific weeds. Still--this spring I have enjoyed seeing so many birds and other beasties scurrying around around between the three properties. It's a small habitat for them, but it seems to be enough to attract them. I like knowing that even a small effort can make for a change in the neighborhood.

Before we did our taxes my husband and I thought that this would be a prosperous year, since both of us had gotten small raises. So in the euphoria of feeling flush I went out and bought some fancy pants annuals, something I usually try to avoid. Here is my box worth, with small unusual pansies, foliage plants and English daisies which I do usually buy. See those unusual tawny lavender pansies--they are interesting, pretty, not finicky and doing well in my clay, close to the violets that return every year to glam up the hellstrip.

There is, however, a small catch. The raises my family got do not quite cover the exceptions and some other things we lost this year, a fact we only realized after doing our taxes. So no more fancy annuals for me. Or not many. Because, since I anticipated a year's worth of carefree annual buying, I did not start many seeds. I have to admit, as I age and keep working, I do have less energy. An easier summer seemed worth a try.  So now I'm playing out-of-breath  catch-up on every window sill I can muster.

Yet somehow the garden has not heard that bit of bad news, so it is still doing great. This last Sunday it all caught my breath, as I looked out on a beauty I couldn't possibly have had anything to do with bringing about. Me? No way. Maybe some miracles only come when you understand your own limitations, and yet are still willing to push on.

I love serendipity, and not just for ice cream. Part of my job as a librarian involves evaluating books, some of which are books of poems, so some of these poems I read (I'm evaluating, not enjoying;-) I'm currently looking at "Two New Yorkers" from, we think, 1938 and from an obscure printer. It has the feel of Lower East side, ethnic, progressivism with its earthy prints by Alexander Kruse. And poems by Alfred Kreymborg. I have not heard of either but will do some research (and perhaps find my initial categorization all wrong.) Anyway, it is a charming book in feeling so very much of its time and place. It includes a rustic April poem which has a fine lilt to it.


I'm fool enough to think,
while April's in clover
the sun and the rain
will change what they can.

Ass enough to see
nose enough to smell
that what grows as grass
may be the whole plan:

Ears that can hear
how the wet and dry
as they mingle and mellow
May yet sweeten man.

It is the sort of short lyric I like, musical and suggestive. I would change the 8th line to "may be part of a plan," but I'm still impressed. The etching/aquatint next to it is titled "Long Island Peasant."

I love the pleasant surprises that come with this job, like stumbling over a blossom you never expected to be there.

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