Letter from Birdland: It's starting to look like spring
In Birdland, spring seems to be settling in. For weeks now, since before that last blizzard, in fact, the bulbs in my yard have been pushing up their greenery more slowly than usual.
Ghost lilies, daffodils, tulips and irises are all leafing up. Well, the irises keep their noses above ground all winter anyway, and the ghost lilies got their noses pinched with that final frost, so their tips are yellow. The lilacs are putting out leaf buds, and the ornamental quince is showing pink-like little coral shells — but all that has been going on for weeks.
The buds are cautious, perhaps remembering that late frost last year where we lost every single one of our peaches. They don't quite want to believe spring is here, and I can't say I blame them.
In town, I see daffodils and snowdrops blooming, but we are always about two weeks behind the bloom in town. That's OK. I get to experience first blooms twice. Once in town and once in Birdland.
I read today about some research that shows some benefits to health and happiness if we savor our positive experiences.
I guess the idea is that if I bring a pear to town with me to eat as a snack and leave it in the cup holder of my car and go about my business — let's say I go into the library, and then I get hungry — I can enjoy that pear three times.
First, in the library, I might plan to go to the library coffee shop and buy a muffin but remember that I have a pear in the car.
I realize that it's a sunny day and I had parked with my windshield facing south. I'll bet that pear has warmed up and will be really delicious when I eat it. It was nicely ripe, and I imagine the warm, sweet juice, maybe running down my hand a little bit when I bite into the pear.
I pack up my books and leave the library and sit in the vehicle for a minute, enjoying my snack. It is every bit as delicious as I imagined.
I root around in the glove box for a napkin but end up having to lick the dripping juice from my hand. I finish the pear down to the core and then kiss the last of the juice from each finger, just like a cartoon cat.
As I drive away, I think again about that pear, tasting again the warm, sweet juice in memory.
Well, this research I was reading about seems to show that this whole process is beneficial.
I suppose you could do the same thing with negative experiences, but with probably negative results. At any rate, the double bloom (town and country) allows me to savor the spring six times. Do I then double my benefit?
I carry a scoop of food to the chickens and check the peach trees while I'm out there. Just a hint of tiny green leaves emerging, while fuzzy flower buds swell. I look over the new growth and think about what I would prune if I had the pruning shears in my hand.
I am new to pruning, but I'm trying to be brave. I know to cut all the suckers that go straight up and any branches that look like they might cross, and to try to let the light into the center of the tree — and beyond that I just have to trust myself.
I round the bend to the front of the house and see way over by the redbud tree a whole bouquet of daffodils has burst forth. I go over there and kneel next to them, welcoming their golden trumpets to my yard.
Anticipate beauty; savor peace; blessed be.
Mary Lucille Hays lives in Birdland near White Heath. She is interested in all the cycles of the seasons. You can read more of her writings at http://www.letterfrombirdland.blogspot.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via snail mail care of this newspaper.