My brother tells me when I was little I went around telling everybody my birthday was March 26. He implies my enthusiasm might have been a bit annoying. But I like having a March birthday! In like a lamb, out like a lion kind of mentality. Even if it snows, you know it won't last long. Every year I know exactly where to find the first crocus.
Along the garage.
And the budding daffodils? Under the maple trees. Did you know Southerners call them buttercups? I didn't, until I read Patricia Bradley's March 28 Harlequin Heartwarming post. Jonquils, daffodils, buttercups. A welcome sight whatever the name.
Last year I called a Nashville florist (I'm in Pennsylvania), intending to order a bouquet of daffodils for my daughter Launa's February birthday. Like Holly in Wanted: The Perfect Mom, she and her husband had just left the military.
Wanted: The Perfect Mom at Harlequin
They settled in Tennessee. "Do you mean buttercups?" I detected a note of confusion in the florist's southern drawl.
"No, daffodils. You know, the yellow flowers that bloom in the spring?" I'm still not sure what my daughter got.
Anyway, I digress. My birthday was a week past, the day before Easter this year.
Coming back from the kennel after feeding my husband's beagles, I returned to the house through an arch that was one of the first things added to the yard when we built our home years ago. The white pines on either side are wide and tall and protect the house from winds. My mind is full of preparations for my upcoming book release (June 1!) and scenarios for the next book when I happened to glance down.
A SURPRISEAt my feet, tiny white flowers poke through the layer of pine needles, their petals nodding and swaying in the slight breeze.
Four months later I would plant the bulbs somewhere in the yard. But the delicate white flowers scattered among the brown pine needles? I don't remember planting them. I don't know where they came from.
I kneel on the walkway, savoring the moment, savoring the unexpected gift.
What Can I say, It's Spring in the Northeast
The onion snow comes after onion sets are planted in the garden. Naturally two days later I wake to snow on the ground. March's lambs on opposite ends of the month were chased by lions this year. I run up to the archway still in robe and slippers. The wind whips my robe. The happy little petal faces have disappeared. A few green stems poke through the light covering of snow. The cold was too much for their delicate sensibilities.
The next morning the snow is gone and by ten o'clock the temperature is 51. I stare out the kitchen window. Did they come back? I run through the yard. And yes, I am again in my robe and slippers. It is, after all, a rainy Monday and I have nowhere to go but the fictional town of Bear Meadows.
They are back. Except now they are blue. I kneel down, cradling a bloom in my palm. White, with blue veins.
Doesn't matter. As Juliet said to Romeo, "A rose by any other name smells as sweet." I accept this unexpected birthday gift, this reminder that even in the face of adversity there is beauty and strength. Sometimes we don't realize how strong we are until we're tested. True for these little flowers, true for human beings.
So give yourself a little gift of time today. Find a good book, a quiet place, and...
ENJOY THE READ,