I received the answer to my prayers on Saturday... Grand- father Sun was out in full, shining forth rays that I swear were warmer this week than last...
Wind made no appearance. He let Sun's rays touch the ground unimpeded, without his cold whispers of Winter, peeking just around the corner. Pockets of the garden were still frozen in the shade; it will take some time before those areas warm...but the rest of the garden showed small green tips of bulbs arising and greeting Sun.
Steam from the sodden ground ascended into the air, making the enclosed garden feel like a humid, tropical garden, during the warmest period of the day. Birds twittered and sang, becoming raucous and insistent as I filled and hung a full bird feeder. I watched for awhile, seeing birds I had never seen before...some are quite tame and very accepting of this human.
The word went out in Birdspeak; soon many, many birds filled Maple Tree's branches. The shrieking and struggle for dominance amongst the birds made me seek the relative peace and safety of the West garden, where no bird feeders were hung...only Wind Chimes. They were silent this day, until I walked past, when there was the familiar tinkle that greets me every time I walk under Grandfather Tree.
The lawn was littered in branches and debris. I took the rake and began, once again, piling the leaves together...leaves that I had raked just before the first of the large Storms appeared. They were not dry and light this time, however. They were more broken down and very wet. As I raked, I watched the fat earthworms wriggling in the soil underneath. I knew they would continue their work of breaking down the leaves and adding nutrients to the soil, so I picked up each worm and placed them in the West flower bed...and then I covered them with the half-rotted leaf mulch.
I raked and swept, enjoying the warm, gifted day. My mind eased its constant chatter...the chatter that was overtaking my spiritual body. I received Sun's rays with such relief and gratitude...sometimes singing snatches of tunes that honoured Sun in some way. Tunes that just popped into my mind...and then drifted off again, perhaps to remind someone else, who was working in their garden, to enjoy Grandfather Sun!
I felt my shoulders lose their tightness, with the rhythmic raking. My heart opened and received; my tense stomach softened and I breathed deeply, without constraint.
I breathed in air that smelled of wet, mouldering leaves and muddy earth...earth that also received Sun's gift, becoming less swampy-smelling...and finding its sweet breath once again. I saw the tawny glow that is sometimes there, surrounding certain plants, when it is still the middle of Winter.
I wandered from Tree to Tree, checking for damage and noting the tight, fat buds on Plum and Maple. Heather is blooming...a deep, luminescent purpley- red...heart- rending as it glows in the afternoon light. Elder Tree, having taken residence against the North side of the house, all by himself...has survived the Storms happily, it seems, if the fat buds are any indication. Camellia has many fat buds, too; if the weather is just right, she will send her welcome blooms' scents to visitors and passersby.
And everywhere, Daffodil and Tulip, Narcissi and Crocus are reaching for the Sky.
I wander to the vegetable garden, glancing with dismay at the Sorrel plant, chewed to the ground, which I'd had my eye on last week for Sorrel soup. It seems Grandfather Rabbit has honoured me with his presence. I am happy, however...he left me one plant untouched! I notice the Asian vegetables are doing well, in spite of being under Snow and almost drowned. It will not be long before I can pick some Bok Choy or some spicy Mustard greens.
I notice the berry enclosure has suffered damage, due to high winds. Boards are hanging drunkenly every which way...I pick these up and place them to the side. I cut down plants that have dried in place, their stalks picked clean by birds and insects. I note the Strawberry bed must be re-dug this year...the Buttercup has taken over to such a degree I don't know if we'll ever find the Straw- berries!
Hours pass by; I'm caught in the present , enjoying the peace to be found there...happy to be working with Mother Nature in such an absolutely pleasant way.
In the garden, time flies by, as I meander and tidy and re-cover beds whose mulch has blown off in previous Storms. After awhile, Sun's face is hidden behind tall trees over to the West. And a sharp Wind begins to blow off the Ocean...
It is time to go in and make a cup of tea, holding my peace and serenity, once thought lost, close to my heart.