On this chill February morning I am dreaming of flowers -- not the perfect red Valentine roses filling the stores today in anticipation of being presented with a flourish to sweethearts of all ages. No, I am dreaming of the first tiny snowdrops I will carefully uncover from the leaf mulch by the end of this month, and the purple, yellow and white crocuses that will cluster beside my stone walk. I see the stately daffodils breezily gracing the front garden, and the lovely tulips that all too soon become dessert for the deer who visit my garden each night, and the purple and white lilacs which follow -- scenting the world around them with their sweetness, and the tiny lilies-of-the-valley snuggled under my old maple tree.
February has been cold; the ground is hard and bare -- the deep snows of 2010 have so far not made it to my little corner of upstate New York, so the traditionally snowy landscape of February has instead been brown, hard, and bone-chilling. That is the reality this year.
And, as all gardeners know, nature is whimsical. My flowered dreams of the spring to come may be "pie in the sky", also. We have had springs of perfection with softly warm breezes, sunlight, and a profusion of flowers. But, some years spring balks, and we are left with cold and mud, and the deer eat the tulips before their blossoms open.
But, for today, in the midst of this cold and bleak February, I will carry the visions of blossoms unfolding, lilacs perfuming the air, tender green leaf canopies on my beloved old trees, birdsong at dawn, and morning coffee on the porch. My spirits are lifting as I write --