After all our waiting, after the exquisite tease of a lingering winter and the slow delight of a reluctant Spring, I must finally concede that the blossoms are not coming, not this year. Diligently, on each of our walks––whether early in the morning when the grass is still wet and cradles diamonds of dew on the curve of their thick blades, or afternoon when the clouds roll in and rumble but rarely release any moisture, or our after-dinner runs through the park, dodging the myriad buzzing, hovering things that force me to squint and purse my lips––we have watched the trees, especially the crab apples, which are so fragrant, for the tiniest sign of their delicate pink and white flowers, and at the end of each walk we're forced to admit defeat. There are no flowers and there is no evening perfume to bask in while sipping cold beverages and watching the moon drift across the sky.
"It was the snow in May," Ken told me this morning while we sat on the patio, Duncan curled up between us, his nose hanging through the railing so he could watch the other dogs and their human companions passing by down below. Ken was sipping his coffee while I danced a tea bag in a cup of hot water, both of us looking out on the trees, resplendent in their new coat of green but without the flowery finery that usually graces them this time of year.
"And it's been cold at night," he added and squeezed patted my knee reassuringly.
But then, this afternoon, walking the perimeter of the property with Duncan, watching the cotton drift down from the cottonwoods––the good ones, not the terrible and inconvenient ones that plague this corner of the world––I spotted a single bunch of pink petals hanging onto a low branch of a young and gangly tree. I hurried to it, buried my nose in it but sadly did not smell a single thing. But that was fine because just to see it was worthwhile and made our cold and windy May bearable.
The Russian Olives and Lindens are slowly filling in, and if the Universe is willing they will redeem our dreadful, colorless and bland Spring, and bring the kind of smile to my face that lasts for weeks. Until then, though, the grass is high and Duncan and I have done our best to carve a trail through it. While he loses himself among the high blades I hold my open palms above them and caress each tip as we pass, humming a made-up song to myself, delighting in the give of the earth beneath my feet, the sound of a breeze running alongside us. Flowers would be nice, but carving a trail through the grass is a wondrous thing. Tame it early and it will carry you the rest of the year.
Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems. (Rainer Maria Rilke)