Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spring has Sprung

At some point over the winter months, I had forgotten how resilient nature is. It wasn't a particularly long, cold, or dreary winter. At one point, it even reached the 80s in February. But also at some point over the winter months, perhaps right around the same time I had forgotten how resilient nature was, I became acutely distressed by the condition of our yard.

Our yard -- in short -- was a mess. The grass wasn't green. It was brown and dead or dying. Unraked leaves crowded into the corners of the yard and hard-to-reach-with-a-rake places between bushes and behind trees. All the bushes and what we used to call "clumps", islands of ferns back in Florida, had also died. Gone was everything magical about our backyard. Sadly, it only snow once, so not even a beautiful white blanket of freshly-fallen snow would cover it. At one point last spring or summer, I remember thinking of when I so badly wanted to move from Florida to a house like we have now with a yard like we had then. But that yard was gone now, and gone with it was the feeling like we had moved from Florida for greener pastures, because our pastures were now, literally, brown and dead or dying. I thought it would never come back. I couldn't imagine our yard ever looking again like it did last spring and summer.

Thankfully, I was wrong.

Because nature is amazingly, powerfully resilient. And perhaps no more so than this spring after the winter we had -- though not particularly difficult in any one sense, but not especially easy in any other sense either -- I very much needed to be reminded of the resilience of nature and very much needed the comfort that comes from cycles. That when the sun sets it will rise again. That no matter how much rain falls, the sun will shine. And after winter, spring will always spring once more.

A few weeks ago, I saw my neighbor laying mulch down in his yard. I asked him what were some of the things I should be doing to ready my yard for spring. As I mentioned, I was anxious it would not return to its former glory (I should add as a matter of perspective our yard is really nothing to write home about. It's really just we've never had a yard before. I never really mowed a lawn or did yard work. Coming from Florida, all that was usually done by lawn men or an HOA. When we raked leaves this past fall, it became a family endeavor with everyone pitching in to pile leaves on top of a tarp covering the lawnmower in the shed out back and dragging them out to the street to be sucked up by the bi-weekly leaf pick-up service).

My neighbor didn't say much, but I had the thought to rake the rest of all the crap out of our flower beds out so they were ready to bloom. 13 giant bags of lawn refuse later, things were already starting to look up.

We had two bags of mulch just lying in the backyard. I dragged one to the front and spread it in one of our flower beds. There are two small rose bushes there I had not noticed before. Maybe not bushes so much as twigs with the promise of roses, at this point.

In the last week or two, my concerns have melted away. The azaleas and the dogwood are blooming. Our street is wrapped in varying shades of bright red, snowy white, pick, violet and purple. Warm rains have helped our grass turn from brown to a shamrock green. I mowed it on Saturday.

We recently received the kids' soccer match schedules. Saturdays for the next eight weeks will be a joyous rush to one park or another across town. We have three matches every Saturday we now have to juggle and I can't wait until the opening face-off. Elise and I will have to split up and divide and conquer. She shuttling Sam to his matches in Arlington while I take Clem and Pete in the trailer behind my mountain bike to the park in Falls Church closer to our house.

With my management class behind me, I am back to work downtown. Though not particularly happy to be back, it does signal the beginning of the end, our final few months in the States before heading back overseas.

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