She threw the ball again across the yard as her dog bounded after it, catching it in mid-air. She had realized the poor dog needed much more attention and exercise than she was getting. But winter had begged her, the woman that is, to stay indoors, curled up, immobile at the end of each busy day. Now with warmer days at hand and a week off from her daily routine, the woman promised herself to get both of them moving again – she and the dog.
Trotting back to the woman, the dog deposited the ball at her feet. Stoop down, pick it up, wind up, hurl it forward. She smiled as the joyful animal sailed away. She looked around her front yard. Dismal she thought. Last year the grass barely came up at all – replaced by stubborn weeds. We are really going to have to do something about the front yard this year- and soon she acknowledged begrudgingly. Yard work was a necessary evil for her – spring always brought weeks of intense labor in order to have the garden, the flowers, the trees, - the beauty – both she and her husband wanted. But – how she hated it!
Glancing around all she saw was brown – no signs of life. She wandered farther toward the sidewalk. Spring seems to be late this year she wondered. Surely there had been more green, more flowers this time last year. Once again, her happy pup dropped the ball next to her. But this time, as she bent down to retrieve it, something caught her eye.
Wind up, throw – this time with extra effort so she could inspect what she had seen before her dog returned. Look – there they were – new leaves emerging from one of her favorite plants. The spent stalks and dead flowers remained from last year – but someone had been there before her, because a few had been broken off to reveal the verdant mound below. She reached out and broke off a few more dead stalks – remembering now how easy they were to remove. Intent now on her work, she knelt down in the dirt and quickly cleared all the remnants of the old plant. Waxy dark green leaves revealed themselves in a tight bunch, close to the ground. She brushed away some leaves with her hand. Other plants were also beginning to unveil pale twinges of green.
She looked across the street. Ah – yes…..there they are she whispered out loud. The bright, lemony heads of daffodils in her neighbor’s yard had begun to make their appearance. She waited in anticipation this time each year to see this particular yard, so carefully tended by its owners, come to life. Aside from the abundance of daffodils, there were tulips, lush green bluegrass, giant pink roses, and forsythia that burst forth beams of yellow buds. It was breathtaking. Quickly she turned around, eager to check one more spot in her own yard. As she neared the bush that would eventually boast leaves so dark they were almost black, serving as a backdrop to vibrant fuchsia flowers, she feared perhaps it was dead. But wait – no – there ---at the base of the plant, small lime-green leaves spread out on each branch. I’ll have to come out and cut away the dead part this week she mentally noted. She stood. The dog had long ago given up the chase and lay quietly on the porch. She looked around again – but this time with a new sense of anticipation and energy. She hadn’t been feeling well for so long – but today – right now, in this moment – she felt restored. Spring was not her favorite month – but she was constantly amazed at its power to heal and rejuvenate her – body and soul. She returned to the porch, reaching down to stroke her dog’s soft head. Good girl, good girl she hummed and they both returned inside.
Quote of the day: Everybody needs beauty as well as bread,
places to play in and pray in,
where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul. ~John Muir