Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Snowdrops for the Soul

At least ten years ago, I planted a bulb garden in the center of my front lawn. I had lots of Spring bulbs carefully selected from three different garden catalogs and as many local garden stores. Visions of gently nodding pastel beauties danced in my mind's eye. This carefully tended plot thawed the following Spring and then, horrifyingly, filled over with water from the melting snows. I had forgotten that this was a low spot in our yard and so most of these flowers just rotted in place. When things dried up, I dug out some the slimy bulb remnants and tried transplanting them on higher ground. I didn't notice until later that some of the snowdrop bulbs had heroically flowered. Each year they come back and it's a nice reminder that the migrating birds will return and things will green up and flower again.

Here's a snowdrop poem from Louise Gluck's Pulitzer Prize-winning collection, "The Wild Iris" (NY: Ecco, 1993) to celebrate the changing of the seasons.


by Louise Gl├╝ck

Do you know what I was, how I lived? You know
what despair is; then
winter should have meaning for you.

I did not expect to survive,
earth suppressing me. I didn't expect
to waken again, to feel
in damp earth my body
able to respond again, remembering
after so long how to open again
in the cold light
of earliest spring--

afraid, yes, but among you again
crying yes risk joy

in the raw wind of the new world.

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