That's what I said to Myladylove immediately upon my return from a brief amble with Moon-the-Dog around the mostly snow and ice-covered yard Sunday: "Hocus-pocus…crocus!"
"What are you going on about?" she asked, not unreasonably. "And why are you grinning like the Cheshire Cat?"
"Vernal magic,"I replied, "afoot in the yard!"
This time she didn't say anything, just fixed me with a stare that was one part vexation, two parts frustration, plus the familiar recurrent realization that this was the babbling fool she loved and had married, so she'd just have to put up with me until my cryptic dramatics became intelligible—which might take awhile.
"Crocus," I said, sparing her. "Green crocus shoots poking up through the leaves in a patch of bare ground alongside the wall. They weren't there yesterday…now, overnight, they're up—like magic! Spring is really on the way!"
Myladylove arose from the table where she'd been fashioning bits of turquoise and red coral into a necklace, grabbed a jacket, and headed for the door. Not because she didn't believe my report, but because the gift of such seasonal harbingers are always best experienced firsthand whenever possible. The dog and I accompanied her and I pointed out the small green spears. "Wow!" she said. "Oh, wow!"
I suppose I have several hundred crocus bulbs planted around the yard. Purple, yellow, white, lavender. I love them one and all—not only for their bright colors, but also for their cheery message that spring has come. It may be cold and gray, with fresh snow on the ground, but a crocus in bloom is not to be doubted.
Some of the crocus bulbs won't bloom before mid-April. A few will even wait for May. The majority will get going in March. But a very few—the hardy vanguard now appearing—always want to be the first to deliver the news: "Spring is coming!"
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My mother also loved crocus, and always had a few planted beside the front porch steps and walk, and alongside the south foundation wall of the house my dad built, where I grew up and where she continued living after my father's passing in 1983, until her own death in 2005 at age 94. Of course, Mom never saw a flower she didn't like, and would invariably pause and bend close for a better look of anything in bloom—from humble dandelion or violet to the most exquisite rose. "Ohh-h-h," she'd say, "isn't that so pretty."
I share Mom's love of flowers, wild and tame. And I'm so thankful she taught me to see the beauty in blooms…and to always be willing to take the time to savor their gift.
Today would have been Mom's 100th birthday. I miss her all the time, but especially when I see a flower in bloom…or even a few green crocus shoots finding their way up from the frozen earth in a snow-coverd yard. How I wish I could call her up and deliver the news.
Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.
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(FYI: This is the shot of daffodil shoots—not crocus!—I mistakenly posted earlier, which came up yesterday, a day later than the crocus I wrote about. Thank's to Julie Baumlisberger [see second comment and reply] who pointed this out…and thus limited my public stupidity to a couple of hours.)