Letter from Birdland: To me, mowing isn't a chore
Spring has come to Birdland in all kinds of ways.
Today, I mowed the lawn for the first time in almost a year. I don't mean since last fall, like October or something. No. I mean a full year — since last May.
Last year's drought was difficult in so many ways, but it kept the grass from growing, and I can't say I missed mowing the lawn in the terrible heat. Today, though, I was glad to do it.
I have an electric mower, quieter, and the chore smells of green grass instead of gasoline.
It's a big job — wrestling the mower up from the basement, wrangling the extension cords — but I like pushing it around the yard. I like how it forces me to walk back and forth, noticing what's going on.
Here is what I noticed: The daffodils are blooming along my "path to joy," a winding walk to the barn I covered with mulch and lined with flowers a few years back.
But a strange thing happened. My daffodils seem to be migrating. A few have mysteriously moved to the center of the path and are blooming straight through the mulch.
Do I dig them up and move them back, these wandering flowers, or step around them? Do I curve my path to accommodate them?
I round the corner of the house while contemplating these important issues.
Well what do you know? Forsythia is blooming, turning those gray, bare twigs to yellow. Forsythia, like redbud, sends flowers first, and leaves follow.
The ornamental quince, which has been showing tight bulbs with coral-colored edges for weeks now, is ... still not opening. However, the buds are swelling, like pink capers.
The lilac bushes are sending out small, heart-shaped leaves, but no blooms yet.
The peaches are blooming, delicate pink blossoms, though not as abundantly as they did last year when they were hit by a late frost.
(I'm really hoping for some peaches this year. Last year, my trees were full of fuzzy peaches the size of a marble when the frost came and knocked them all off.)
In town, I am noticing more and more magnolia trees blooming, and I try to reroute my morning walk so I can walk past most of them. Bike past them actually.
Magnolias remind me of my grandmother, who had two in her yard, and of my first college lecture hall. And Botany 100, where I learned that they are ancient plants, one of the first kinds of plants to evolve flowers.
They are not like the more refined orchid or even the common milkweed, which targets a particular pollinator. Hooks on the pollen attach to the legs of the bee when she backs out of the flower after she has had her fill of the nectar. No, magnolias developed big, juicy petals and pollen going every which way out of the zillions of stamens so some happily munching beetle will accidentally brush up against it.
The pollen sprinkles over the pollinator like glitter on a party girl or like flour on the miller. Magnolias are messy and ancient and fun. And full of life and chaos.
Yes, spring is coming in all kinds of ways — in Birdland and in town.
Bloom in beauty; pollinate peace; blessed be.
Mary Lucille Hays lives in Birdland near White Heath. She is interested in all of the cycles of the seasons in her own backyard and elsewhere. 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.