Everyday, I talk to my blueberry bush.
I say, “Not just yet. Hold on.”
So far, it’s been listening to me.
The peach trees are not so easy to command. They’ve all started blooming. Their cheery, pink flowers color the landscape like a neon billboard announcing spring is here. The three peach trees in our yard are showing off a bit, even though they’re mere babes planted just last season. Down the street, the grand old trees with years of bountiful history are exploding with such pink glory it would make a truck-driver swoon.
Today, I’m dealing with peach-anxiety. I woke to a definite chill in the air. An hour later a bit of dandruff started falling from the sky. By lunch, the sky was filled with swirls of white so thick I couldn’t see my ducks on the pond below. It’s the day after Easter and we have snow. Yikes.
I happen to like snow. It’s pretty and I associate many lovely things to it, such as my kids wide eyed and delighted (as only kids from Florida could be when nothing more than flurries are falling from the sky). Snow inspires me to make soup and cocoa. It makes me want to tuck my feet under a blanket on the couch with a good book. Snow is a perfect excuse to stay in, unless of course, you’re going out (to play) and it always puts my husband in a good mood.
I even like the way snow collects on my donkey’s nose – he’s like a super snow magnet. I guess his body heat is buried so far beneath his wooly winter coat the snow sticks to him even when it doesn’t stick to the ground or anything else. He looks like the abominable snow donkey. I dust him off and offer him an extra treat, poor dear, and together we watch the tree branches turning white while we discuss the state of the world.
Luckily, snow is not the equivalent of a hard frost. It’s merely suggestive of freezing temperatures. Still, when you live in farm country and it snows in spring, it’s unnerving.
Last year, a late frost killed all the peach, blueberry and apple trees in Georgia. One unexpected night of bitter cold during spring break left the freshly blooming branches loaded with curled up dead flower carcasses. The bees went hungry – nothing to pollinate. As result, all summer, no fruit.
This week as we drove by the local orchard and saw the trees cresting with new blooms, we winced, thinking, “Certainly, it’s too soon. What if IT happens again?”
The warmer weather has even the hidebound farmers embracing the concept of global warming. The problem is the fruit trees haven’t watched the movie An Inconvenient Truth, so they’re easily confused. The warmer earth is forcing early blooms, but the erratic pitch and sway of the atmosphere, manipulated by rising sea levels and what-have-you, can easily take all promise of normal yields away. After the killer season last year, I’m not convinced our local farmers can survive another devastating year. And I certainly don’t want to be disappointed again by facing another year without blueberry wine fermenting in a jug downstairs.
When I went down to the barn today to feed the animals, I could swear my horses gave a collective sigh to let me know just how tired they are of waiting for spring. Me too.
The daffodils that seemed so fresh and exciting yesterday look like little teacups filled with milk today. I witnessed a spider’s web that appeared as if it was made of yarn thanks to the thick layer of snow that somehow stuck to the feathery threads. Weird.
My chickens are dining on squashed, hard boiled Easter eggs today, the bright colors of the shells attracting them in the way shinny lures call to fish in a pond. But my peacocks won’t step foot outside of the henhouse. I guess that would be like expecting royalty to brave the elements when theiy’re genetically groomed to sit inside on their thrown. They leave the commoner behavior of scratching the dirt while snow blankets their backs to the peasants. (Not to be confused with pheasants.)
My angora rabbits don’t mind the snow. It collects on their long coats until they look like hopping snow drifts. My two girls are pregnant, due in about two weeks. They’re starting to build nests, which makes me nervous because a late season frost is as much a threat to their impending litters as it is to baby peaches. Sigh.
Soccer has been canceled due to inclement weather. I’ve spent the morning making muffins, cleaning my desk, catching up on work. I haven’t been home much lately due to the grandma ordeal, so I’m appreciative of a day at home and the opportunity to catch up on laundry. I’m planning upcoming excursions– the Great Dessert Experience expo in Atlanta (important to the coffee shop endeavor), The Dogwood Festival to browse art vendors, an upcoming cooking class at the Cooks Warehouse in Atlanta. I want to learn professional kitchen knife skills (next step will be learning to throw them.) And the famed Steeplechase in Atlanta, which happens to be on my birthday. (This is a huge lawn party with horse obstacle course races, pig races, a dog Frisbee championship, a ladies straw hat parade and more… Fun! I’ll pack us a glorious picnic, force everyone to wear a foolish hat to show spirit, and we can make a day of it.) I’m planning to attend another reading in Atlanta by a renowned author and I’m toying with the idea of devoting eight Mondays to a writing class at the Margret Mitchell Literary Center. The class sounds wonderful but the drive would be a killer. I keep checking the ever growing list of scheduled family endeavors on my bulletin board to consider conflicts. Do we really want to do so much? It seems we are all going in different directions, pursuing different interests and passions. Dance once held us together like bound prisoners. Now freedom to choose makes us like leaves blowing in the wind. At least I found something for everyone to do together on my birthday – the day when I have ultimate power to enforce an attendance policy.
I keep pausing from shuffling my to-do list around to look outside. I stare at my peach tree expecting it to start shivering right before my eyes. It’s hard to concentrate because of the snow. Spring is a nasty tease.
I will take a break in a bit to put in another load of laundry and have a cup of coffee. I’m reading a book called Truck, a love story, by Michael Perry. He’s the author of another book I just finished called Population 485, a memoir. Wonderful writer. The man lives in a very remote, rural town, not unlike mine. He trained as a nurse and grew up a local country boy with few literary influences. He’s had no formal writing training, but was born with an ingrained love of reading and writing. His books have received critical acclaim and he’s had articles in prestigious magazines. I’m impressed with his work, but even more in awe of the writer. I’m fascinated that someone with so little exposure to a sophisticated literary environment, raised in a culture that doesn’t hold much stock in highbrow read’ in and writ’ in, can still develop a strong voice and develope an appreciation for fine literature. Fascinates me. I’m also reading Three Cups of Tea, another memoir. I’ve joined a local book club and this is the next assigned book. I’m starved for literary conversation so I am thrilled to be reading something for eventual discussion. But I think I’ll stick with Truck today. I can’t see reading a book called Three cups of Tea while drinking coffee. Seems somehow like that
will put me out of sync with the universe.
I guess this isn’t a very interesting, entertaining or informative blog. Sorry. I just thought I should let people know I’m still here – just feeling quiet these days – and life has been taxing on both time and nerves.
Everyday, I talk to my blueberry bush.