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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

A Stroke of Spring

Spring in the Tri-State is a long, at times elegant and at times riotous statement of hope and renewal.

The annual panorama begins, some years and in some protected areas, as early as February with the appearance of crocuses, pansies and all manner of “weeds” including bright yellow dandelions.

The real action begins in March when the daffodils that sent up their first, tentative shoots in January, launch themselves wholeheartedly into the world; their appeal lies, in part, in their gaudy displays against otherwise winter-browned landscapes.

In folklore and literature daffodils represent death and resurrection – the promise of eternal life. This is not hard to understand. Most spring bulbs share this commonality: Consider them — the lilies of the field — blooming with wild abandon, year after year, in well tended gardens, for sure, but tenaciously too, along roadsides and at woodland’s edge.

As spring unfolds there follows a succession of floral displays, bursting forth against an increasingly verdant landscape, like fireworks exploding against a darkened sky.

The biggest displays – magnolias, forsythia, and azaleas – are no less prized than the tiniest violets that blanket the warming earth. Not since December’s Christmas light displays has driving around town and country offered such a visual display.

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing birds is come; and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land  — The Holy Bible, “Song of Solomon”

…The flower – perfect in its bud as in its bloom — with no reason to explain its presence — no mission to fulfill… — James Whistler “The Gentle Art of Making”

If thou of fortune be bereft, And in thy store there be but left Two loaves – sell one, and with the dole, Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul — James Terry White, “Not By Bread Alone”

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily, To throw perfume on the violet … is wasteful and ridiculous excess” — Shakespeare, “King John”

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