A Florida Kind of Day

March 1, 2011

A warm, breezy day today, whisking away the cold, the snow and the ice. Everything melts quickly, in strange patterns, with a puff of temperate air.

I call my mom in Florida and we talk as I walk the garden. In Sarasota, the warmth is unremarkable, the green unnoticed and the sunshine a given constant. Those snowbirds get their undies in a wad if the temperature drops below 75.

As much as my mom enjoys breakfast on the lanai, shorts and tank tops in February and that simply hysterical orange bucket beach hat (she is not a hat person and a bucket hat may be the least flattering of available headwear options), I know she misses the excitement of spring. For years, we’ve described weather to each other (conversations consist of vivid descriptions of wild temperature and precipitation variances on my side, regular statements of “75 and sunny” from her end) and then come March, I start telling her what’s coming up.

I tell her about the sedum starting to rosette above the soil, green little clusters of leaves, like petaled pearls. In the fire pit, the ice sheet seemingly hangs above the charred wood and there are perfect die cuts around the leaves, fine, thin ice melting in a wonderful, magical sculpture. It looks like lucite, like glass, shined and polished to a high gleam, round and clear and clean.

The pine tree is full of buds, brown and pink and perfect, each one holding the promise of a branch, new growth. The top leader stem is peppered with them, tempting me to make that prune, see what and how those buds would develop. Ah, but that cut would ruin the perfect little shape that nature is growing right now, so I keep those pruners in the garage.

The grass seed that I planted last fall is seamless, filled in and blended in. I now know that effort was rather useless and that the dandelions and sticker bushes will keep coming back. The heavy traffic – kids using this as a short cut to the school bus or, in summer, a place to ride bikes (yes, right through my lawn) into the next cul-de-sac – makes the grass impossible here. It cannot survive long term. Part of those landscape alterations will have to include a mulch path here; unless we build a fence, this situation will continue.

The oregano is beginning to green. The daffodils keep emerging, peeping from beneath the mulch, popping the heads of shoots through the shredded wood. There are green leaves here and there, sometimes too small and new for me to identify. Mom and I discuss the kids, her friends, my work and clients.

The moss in the flagstone is beginning to wake up from dormancy. There is new growth and it comes in shades of forest green, florescent teal, mint. It mounds up between the stones, swelling, soft and velvety.

Much excitement for both of us – me here in the garden and her in Florida – the red lilies are starting to emerge, white buds in the muds, looking rather Gollum-like, pale and bleached from the dark.

I tell her she is missing spring, missing all these amazing things. She tells me, nestled in a lawn chair in the sunshine faraway, that she is not missing it at all.

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