The season has taken a step over some invisible line and declared that it is now spring. A higher power has spoken, and the landscape has opened, sprouted and blossomed. The insects woke up, the butterflies have come out of their cocoon, and the sparrows have arrived to move into the birdhouses. I believe that force has spoken to me too.
I greet each bloom as if they were long lost friends. I take a minute to join the lenten rose as they bow their heads as if in prayer. I breathe in the intoxicating perfume of the hyacinth. I pet the mounds of creeping phlox and its neighboring candytuft. I dig around the leafy beds to see what is yet to come and I find the peonies first unfurling leaves and the star-shaped mound of the lilies.
My cherry tree is the star of the garden. It is in full bloom and humming with bees. The flowers are white rather than the faint pink of pervious years. Maybe the frost had something to do with this. Worried, I inspect my beloved rose and notice a few leaves were nipped, but for the most part, there is little damage. I found my rhododendrons, and both did not survive. I touch a nearby butterfly bush and its leaves crumble under my touch. The last frost might have been too much for it.
The loss dampens my spirit, so I force myself to turn around and view the garden as a whole. It is bursting with new life, promising a beautiful season. I record the miracle, as I do every year, with my camera. I will remember the perished plants in the photos I took last year and that will have to be enough.
Writing keeps the memory alive as well. It is the reason I attempt this daunting task of journaling – which at times is painful. The words I write will tell the story to go along with the photo. I believe it is my purpose to write about the garden and about my loved ones. The garden helps keep life in perspective – my living metaphor.
I will fill in the holes left by the plants that have died. New life will continue as if they never existed. A few pictures and this journal entry will be all that remains. And one day it will also be all that remains of my love ones and of myself.