Spring Snow

Spring Snow

I awoke to a light spring snow. Throughout March and now April the trees have almost daily swayed heavily to the will of the wind.  Spring has never failed to arrive, but it feels like this winter will last forever. Most plants and flowers have remained asleep under the slowly warming ground. Some have fretfully emerged, surrounded by frozen flakes.

The Hickory trees still greedily hold onto their now almost translucent crinkled ivory colored leaves.

The daffodils are bent over in frozen submission.


A few days ago KBJ and I worked in the gardens, and I wore shorts. The house got warm enough that we turned on the A/C. The next day it barely rose above freezing.

The buds of many trees and shrubs are still hiding, seemingly without the strength and necessary warmth for their leaves to unfold.

Last week I sat on one of these rockers, my face to the sun, whispering, ahhh, spring is finally here to stay. What was I thinking? Last year at this time I had a driveway full of plants and flowers to place in the already warm earth of our gardens. Oh nature, quit toying with my spirit. Oh nature, you are more fickle than a woman.

The density of acorns is confounding. It was a record year, a once in a decade kind of production, so they say. In 16 years I have never seen it like this. We raked piles and piles of them, KBJ wheelbarrows worth, and we syphoned up as many as we could with the rake machine, but many have seeded and will have to be pulled by hand. Despite the hungry appetites of deer, squirrels and birds, the acorns still cover more ground than seems possible.

You would be amazed at the length of the oak root at this point, 3 to 5 inches long. Easy to yank from the ground at this point but useless to try when there are 10’s of thousands of oak seedlings. Once they have leaves it is about impossible to pull them out of the ground anyways. The gardens look terrible right now, and it feels like walking on marbles. There is always drudgery in maintaining a garden, but this will be an all season effort of oak weeding.

Gardening is about hope, but for the first time, it feels dreadful to think about it. Last year,and the year before, and the year before that, despite the loss of huge trees, shrubs and perennials, and the extreme weather, the gardens managed to look lovely. But it took a tremendous amount of work, work that usually made me feel good at the end of the day. This year, everything looks to be forever coated in layers of brown with a humongous forest of Bonsai oak seedlings standing like toothpick soldiers across our acres of gardens.

I shall garden again. I just need to allow for the idea that sometimes you just don’t want to, even when gardening and design are passions that feed me. It has been a difficult year with the loss of 3 dear friends. Gardens are about renewal and the cycle of life, yet in this moment, it almost feels like nature agrees and is somewhat reluctant as well. I know that I will come back to be happily again in nature and the inescapable rhythm of life.

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”  May Sarton, American poet (1912 –1995)


laters, charisse


  1. I know I am commenting twice.
    I just reread your last paragraph. Even your sadness is poetically rendered, so beautifully revealed to your readers, so humbly shared for others to heal of their own griefs. The loss of one friend is devastating! I cannot imagine the loss of three in one year! I pray that the imminent spring display of unbridled floral fields and gardens will soon serve as the healing balm of years past.
    It has been a very long, grey winter!
    You share with us your challenges in such a way that we know all will be well for you as time swallows the past and unwraps a new “box of chocolates-“—Your stories and photographs .

    Thank you again,

  2. Victoria Moores :

    So peaceful….. I love these nature walks…
    Robert Frost, one of my favorites…
    Especially his poems about snow!

    Thank you for sharing,

    • I have loved Robert Frost since a friend of my mother’s first read me a poem of his when I was a very little girl. She also used to read to me from Winnie the Pooh, and gave me a series of them which I still have!

  3. Thank you! Beautiful writing and insight as always. X

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