After May’s frivolous first half, with its volatile temperature swings, frosty nights, and snow squalls interspersed with warm sunny day daffodil days, I am still waiting for the weather goddess to decide to do the right thing. One mid-May, windy, crisp blue sky morning, Gloria, my poodle, and I zip-a-dee-doo-dah-ed over to Topsmead nice and early in order to avoid the crowds that increasingly necessitate the closure of the park these days, crowds looking for ways to get out and about during the coronavirus “stay home stay safe” guidelines.
Driving up the driveway, I heard the rumblings of a bright yellow Bobcat—no, not that kind of bobcat—working to clear away winter’s tree debris. Two masked men—no, not that kind—in green DEEP shirts were raking up smaller debris. I waved cheerily from a distance and yelled a thank-you for the good job they were doing. A bit farther up the drive, I met and introduced Gloria and myself to Cindy McPhee, a former pre-school teacher and docent for Miss Edith’s cottage and who will be working in the Topsmead gardens.
Walking up to Edith’s cottage from the parking area, I noticed that the crabapple trees lining the way were thick with darkly pink but tightly closed buds. Next to the dovecote, lilac trees were still holding on tightly to their unfurled buds, but one whitely blossoming bush bravely offered its heady fragrance to me as I walked by. Around the corner, the enclosed garden’s lion fountain and the cottage’s back porch remained shuttered. In the gardens, I noticed tips of well-tended plants peeking up through the well-groomed dirt but not yet willing to let their buds emerge. Reddish peony stems reached skyward, not yet ready to bloom. It felt as if Topsmead was ready to burst enthusiastically into the summer season, but was still waiting....
...Still waiting as the rest of us are—waiting for the sunlight at the end of this Covid-19 tunnel. Perhaps unlike some of us, though, the natural world is being patient, waiting for just the right conditions for the lilacs and the crabapple trees and the peonies to bloom. No doubt, we humans will have to wait much longer for our just-right conditions than the natural world will. Let’s hope we can do so safely....