WELL! Imagine that….it has been three years since I have posted here. THREE YEARS!?!?!?! What have I been doing….lots of great reading for one thing and lots of lunches with pals and lots of gardening. Oh, and of course, my bookclub, and my puppy and …OK…let’s just call it life!
Remember 2013….remember the winter of 2013 and 2014….absolutely brutal. Deep freezes for long periods of time, deep snow and deep sadness come spring – I had, I used to have, once upon a time, I had a rose arbour that was the joy of my life. It was full, fragrant and right off an English postcard.
It made June, Glorious June.
The author Henry James said that the two most beautiful words in the English afternoon were “summer afternoon” The next most beautiful words in the English language are “June afternoon”
Two brutal winters in a row and the roses were so reduced, I tore down the arbour. Its bare wood angles, exposed and naked were too saddening. The magnificent pink climbers, one each side of the arbor, officially referred to as “Angela” are now shrunken to shrubs. I do believe they will rise again, but it is a slow and patient process bringing back their bold and beautiful selves.
This morning in the Greater Toronto Area, it is cold and bright, with little snow. The boxwood has turned its soft winter bronze, the ever-green periwinkle is dusted with snow and Japanese Spurge, peeks out from beneath the old Blue Spruce – all is right in the back garden. It is restful and reminds me that this is an ideal time to slow down, pay clearer attention to more important things…like the beautiful life still teeming in my winter garden.
And what abundant life there is in a winter garden and what vibrant visitors. The most stunning visitor I have had is a huge and very handsome Red Tail Hawk. What a marvel he is. He is why the word swoop was created.Silently he arrives in the back garden, angling expertly, effortlessly between cedar bows and clothes line, his wings wide and glowing in the sun, head down. He spies a perch and elegantly glides, descends, folding his wings and lowering his tail. Sometimes he settles on the back of my teak bench, on a bough. Or, right atop the step stool I use to reach the clothes line. When I spot him, through my office window, I am held captive, literally breathless. He is a study in magnificence: majestic stillness, radiating a silent presence, so powerful it is felt through a window.I know when he turns his head by the smallest degrees he has spotted me at my desk. And through the window I return his gaze.
So we sit, in silent commune. I want him to know from my own stillness, to understand, ‘Yes, you have found a safe place to rest. I will not disturb. Stay as long as you desire…’ Does he know how wonderful he is? Does he recognize what glory he is to me? No, I think not. I believe from his view he sees me only as the enemy: one of ‘those’ bent on diminishing his precarious world, one of ‘those’ determined on the destruction of his kind.
Without warning, he takes flight. He is gone.
But, it is enough: he has graced my morning, my garden. My life. He is the prize, the great reward for digging, feeding, nourishing and keeping a garden.
I love my garden, even in the depths of winter.