Spring has been a reluctant dance partner this year. Our four-season, four-sided landscape stands far more grey than green for this date. The gardens are still in their boned corsets; few blooms adorn the foundations. And while the lilacs boast, delighted to have dodged the recent wet snow, the weeping cherry still drapes her bare arms close to the ground. The burning bushes that trumpeted scarlet in the western sun last fall didn’t make it at all. Lifting them from the earth took no more than a shovel and a tug. Unmoved by sun or birdsong, the pussy-willow never tipped her gray mitts to the blue sky; the flowering almond stayed mute in the wind; the apricot buds fell dark. Coming around the corner of the house last year, the scent from this garden was so strong it stopped us mid-step in either direction. Eyes closed, we could navigate from branch to bush and back again by nose alone. This year, the first thing we see from the flagstone path is the cedar fence. Greyed by age, its charm is tested by raw exposure.
The rhythms are off in every direction it seems. The mourning doves are late. The black crows distant. The skies tumble with clouds that bring few showers and turn the sun fickle. Inside our brick house, the heat still kicks on. At night, the wind carries the fragrance of chokecherry blossoms all the way to the back door. It is a tender consolation in this uneasy April. Above our heads, Venus glows bright under the new moon, while we who are restless wait on a song we know by heart to begin again.