As I reached an age of wonder, I often wondered what my grandmother was looking toward as she gazed out of her window at her world. During the gray days of winter, once her chores were completed, she often sat by the window in her bedroom looking out over her rock garden. The garden was gray and brown…and bare. No hollyhocks, iris or lilies…no butterflies. Just the remnants of last year’s spring, summer, and fall. Like her plants, my grandmother seemed to wilt and turn gray herself in the winter only to be reborn again in the spring.
Many winter afternoons were spent with a patchwork quilt, sewing quietly with WBT AM playing softly in the background…until some thought of spring crossed her mind and, once again, she would peer out of her window. Other days she might sit with her Bible, a crossword puzzle or the latest Readers Digest condensed anthology. She would read, gaze out, read some more and repeat like the seasons. Nannie would begin her rebirth as soon as the seed catalogs began to arrive RFD.
Later in life, she sat with her easel in a sunroom that had become her bedroom, surrounded by her plants and books, and would apply acrylic paint to a canvas board. She created colorful remembrances based on memories of springs and summers past. Flowers and birds were favorites…as were the ponds and lakes she fished in.
I understand why she looked toward spring. I look toward spring myself when the blues and purples of crocus, periwinkle, and violets add color to the browns of winter. Their blues and purples replacing the blues and purples clouding my own mind.
Looking toward spring until the reddish blossoms of a redbud tree and the pinks, oranges, and reds of azaleas replace bareness, brown and gray. Till the yellows of buttercups and forsythia mimic the brightness of the sun. Till the dogwood celebrates the blessings of Easter. I look toward spring.
The birds bring color too. Redbirds and woodpeckers have been active all winter as have robins and tanagers, battling the squirrels for the sunflower seeds I put out. They’ve been joined by gold and purple finches. Their colors growing bolder as the days grow longer and their need to mate becomes stronger.
A pair of nuthatches are working hard to hatch their clutch and they wait, upside down, as I load the feeder near the house I fashioned for them from a hollow log. I didn’t know I was fashioning it for them but they have taken it over for the past few years. Returning like the spring.
Mourning doves coo softly and despite their name, I smile, not finding their call to be sad at all. They are waiting until I leave before feeding on the seeds that have fallen upon the ground.
It won’t be long before the coos, chirps, and calls will be joined nightly by the lament of the whippoorwill or the “hoot, hoot, hoot” of owls on the far hillside. They add their own color to the darkest night.
It was still cool this morning as I walked my familiar route. The signs of spring were everywhere…yellow pollen fell from the trees onto the greening grass and swirled in the light breeze. I worried about my bear friend I sometimes see on this rarely traveled road. He’s more scared of me than I am of him…right?
A single turkey flushed from a thicket, climbed high, higher, highest to the crest of a hill. Later, on the way back, a blue heron wading in the nearby the stream took to the air. So sorry, I wouldn’t dare hurt you. Huge wings gaining altitude into a cobalt blue sky. The majestic bird only visits in the spring, so spring must really be here.
Soon butterflies will add their color to the wildflowers and plants I put out. Yellow, red or blue and black wings will light upon blues, pinks, and whites as the season of rebirth moves on to the season of growth.
I know what my grandmother was looking toward and my heart smiles. I am glad spring is here and the memories of her it brings.
Visit Don Miller’s author’s page at https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM