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“It’s only winterbite,” my gardener friend assured me, handing me several mottled leaves from the Christmas Hollys we’d planted last spring in my side yard. Her windblown cheeks, her bulky sweatshirts and jeans, smudged from previous work, bespoke her authority tending gardens. She brightened and leaned over. “See these buds beneath other stressed leaves? Once the earth warms up, they’ll push them off and form new leaves.”

Like the Christmas Hollys, I, too, suffer from winterbite. So weary of wearing long underwear and multiple layers of heavy clothing, so bone-chilled by arctic winds, so leery of inaccurate weather forecasts, so sun-deprived, so tired of in-house walks.

Like everyone, I yearn for the warming sun to quicken my own budding with spring’s pastels: pinks, raspberry, peach, rose …

 

 

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It happened again on our court, the second potluck since the beginning of 2015, this time to celebrate the onset of spring’s greening.

It was evening. Hesitant breezes carried moist-earth smells, cardinals chirruped, and patches of green engulfed lawns. Neighbors stepped lively carrying covered dishes, food warmers, and bottles as they stepped onto the porch of our host and hostess. “Do come in,” Bob exclaimed opening the screen door.

Inside, a warm aura of creamy yellows, honeyed woods, and burnished antiques enfolded us within a world of textured care. Forty-three years Bob and Candy have lived in this house; each room still carries the presence of the four children they have raised. Today their grandchildren play in the toy room.

In no time, the dining room, its table filled with treats, the living room, and the deck swelled with stories: Bob’s volunteer work at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, his wife’s practiced eye for antiques, another neighbor’s falls and need for physical therapy, the renovation plans of parents wanting to raise their toddlers on our court, the joy of another’s eight-month old grandson, the diminishment of a ninety-year old mother living with her daughter and husband, little ones pulling a train and scooting upon a plastic truck, the recent divorce of another¾even the story about the forty year-old-pin oak tree in the back yard.

So Spring continues greening the spirits of my neighbors, no matter the season. I’m grateful to live among them.

 

 

Saturated earth stretches, turns cartwheels. Gold crocuses strut their stuff.

Green-fire sizzles beneath stubbled lawns.

Thorny lilac buds split their seams in laughter.

Velvety moss creeps along creek bottoms.

Worrisome ants zoom across patios.

Swollen-breasted robins preen in the sun.

Bird-trills jostle pre-dawn stillness.

Winds nudge recalcitrant leaves from pin oaks.

March sun toasts bare arms on swings and jungle jims.

Strollers gentle their little ones.

 

Around us and within us, greening plummets ahead. There’s no stopping Her.

 

 

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