This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge theme is ‘Inside’. This is my interpretation. Here’s hoping.
Walking around my garden today, I can’t help thinking how different things are compared to last year when we were in the grip of a long, cold spring. This year, having been blasted and battered with storms, record-breaking rainfall and catastrophic flooding with barely any frost, snow or ice to speak of, here in the UK we are now basking in an early and glorious spring.
One of the first things I couldn’t wait to do when I returned to the UK after living in California for so long was to plant spring bulbs. Although I loved my Californian garden, full to bursting as it was with Jasmine, Morning Glory, Iris Flags and yes, Lavender and Roses (they love that dry heat!) I was always unsuccessful when it came time to growing daffodils. It was just too hot no matter how much I watered them.
Now, every spring, my eyes feast on their little yellow-heads nodding about in the warm air as if they know a thing or two. Last autumn I planted Narcissus Tete-a-tetes and they have arrived in all their glory!
You’ll notice in the photograph below two pots of geraniums. Believe it not, these have been outside all winter, uncovered and untouched. I have never known geraniums survive a British winter before (unless in a heated greenhouse).
In California yes, but here? I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate how unseasonably mild it has been here. Scary actually, not normal.
Admiring my pretty blooms, my busy thoughts turn very much towards Eldest Son and Lovely Girlfriend who are, at this very hour, jet-planing across the sea to California for a holiday. It is the first time that my son has been back ‘home’, where he grew up, for over ten years.
I wonder how it will be for him, re-visiting all the familiar places where we lived and played together as a family so long ago? I know how surreal it was for me when I went back last year, shadowed by memories of our long-ago life together as they walked softly by my side with every step that I took.
So many memories flood my mind now. When my son was preparing to leave home for College in 2001 he burnt a CD for me of some of my favourite songs, one of which is ‘Lovely Day’ by Bill Withers. Years later, on another but bitterly cold, spring day in March, 2006, Hubby and I played it at our wedding. Yesterday was our 8th wedding anniversary (mere newlyweds!).
What a lovely day indeed.
The view of my garden now is one of a fresh beauty. I remember when I started my blog my muse came to me in the form of my garden robin, ‘Sweet Robin’ as I called him. He is a cheeky little fellow, all plump and red-breasted with beady, black eyes overseeing all with a keen garden management, the territorial little thing that he is.
But this year something was different. I had not seen him and it made me sad.
Then one morning not so long ago, and feeling downcast as I stood at my kitchen window, I instantly recognised the brown flit-flit of a certain little bird darting in and out of the bare tree branches. A flash of his red-breast puffed out proudly and there he was, Sweet Robin, perched on the side of the feeder. With a gasp I froze and watched.
Then, to add sugar to the mix, Mrs Sweet Robin appeared too, on the tree next to him, chattering away: ‘Hurry up, we haven’t got all day!’
That day, when I saw my Robin, my heart lifted with such joy. Such a simple sighting removed my heaviness in a single heartbeat and tears of joy poured down my cheeks. Every tear drop washed away my sadness and my moment was filled with light once more. I knew in that single moment, at the sight of my Robin, that I was going to be alright. That we were all going to be alright. He was my heaven-sent gift of hope.
Later that day, during a much-needed sort out, I found a card sent to me from a dear friend in California to encourage me and it contained this beautifully timed quote by Emily Dickinson:
‘Hope is the thing with feathers,
that perches in the soul,
and sings the tune without the words,
and never stops at all.’
You see then that inside my garden I find so many things; the beauty of yellow-soaked daffodils reaching up to the spring-sunshine announcing their arrival with smiles of unblemished joy; the freedom in knowing that nature’s power not only brings catastrophe when it is unhinged but that it also brings a gentle healing when it whispers quietly in our hearts of the perpetuity of renewal through it’s spring-time song.
There I also find healing for a troubled heart in the sighting of a silly little bird, my Sweet Robin.
So while my son is California Dreamin’ as he heads out towards his distant horizon, I share here with you not only the inside of my garden but also the inside of my heart. My thoughts are that you will come away with a renewed hope in your hearts and that you have a Lovely Day.