It is now Spring. Not by the official date and not by the weather, but by amazing sights that I first saw as a child and did not appreciate. Then, so much later in life these stunning sights became more poignant to me as I relayed all the things I was doing outside to my Mother. As she lay in her bed, attentive and interested, she was ready to suggest or explain how I should understand what a garden needs to flourish. Momma loved all flowers, although her favorite flower was the rose, in particular she was partial to The Abraham Lincoln, deep red rose, a white, Empress rose just tinged in the palest of pink and the very charismatic Yellow tea rose. Each summer she looked forward to the many bouquets I brought from the gardens, but none of that would not have happened if she didn’t give me her love for making it all happen and appreciate how much a garden of colorful flowers can give you back.
Spring came this year not many days ago. Yes, prior to now there was a premature, weatherman Spring and there was the official start of Spring that was followed by freezing temperatures, snow, sleet, rain, more rain, snow and rain. Finally, April Showers began, much the same as when I lived on the farm many years ago. There are days of rain and chill, a sky where clouds then break and warm rays of sun fall across the land, then possibly very windy days or nights filled with more rain or fine showers or a small group of warm, warm days with bright cumulus clouds up above. Yes, it was that way this year and even though I should have been out earlier I had other projects to tend to.
As I begun my task of cleaning up my garden and yard I began humming an Italian song that my Mother and I always listened to in the afternoon. It wasn’t until after my Mother passed away that I realized what the song, Al Di La, was all about. Al Di La is a place, far, far above the clouds to a place where a loved one is that guides you and one day will greet you on your final journey. I knew why I hummed this because Momma was there guiding me, up there, far, far above the white, voluminous cumulus clouds. At that moment I felt peaceful to know she was there and as I babbled to my garden, I could also share everything with her as I always did.
First came the pruning of dead, perennial stalks and uncovering the little roses from their insulation of Canadian Peat Moss. Next, as I worked from one side of the first bed to the other, the Spring came to me. There as I moved leaves and debris carefully from the plants center the tiny shoots of new life greeted me for our first chat. They are Spring, the little hidden, little leaves signaling new life as I am bent low and move leaves carefully to find the tiny, living treasures. The next day after a night rain brings even more Spring to the little leaves and stalks because in one night they have tripled their size. They are amazing, they have returned to me one more year to please and bring color and texture to my garden.
Momma knew all this and simply by giving me some hints, or told a story, she imparted her knowledge of gardening to me. Now Momma still guides my hand as she watches far, far above the white, voluminous cumulus clouds in a place that is called Al Di La.