Column, Looking Back

Early spring flowers bring delight

Looking Back

By Mary Ellen Shaw

Yes, it is I…looking “forward” instead of “back” in my column. Why? Because we all need something to look forward to in a world that has changed in what seems like a “New York minute!”

So, for as long as these difficult days last I will attempt to brighten all of our days by reminding us of what Mother Nature will be doing to cheer us up. “She” has already started if we just look around.

The crocuses on the Woodstock Avenue side of the Godnick Center are one of the first signs of spring. They are in the grassy bank that is easily visible as you drive by or while you are waiting at the stop light by Beauchamp’s Pharmacy. This year I noticed them for the first time in mid-March. That is earlier than usual but it happened right about the time that the coronavirus was changing our day-to-day lives. The yellow blossoms in particular show the sunny side of life as they resiliently emerge after being buried in snow and sleet. You may wonder why the grass is allowed to grow longer in that area as spring progresses. The flowers need to “die off” on their own. So when flowers are grown in grassy areas it means no mowing. The grass may look a little unkempt for awhile but that is necessary in order for the crocuses to return next spring.

There are a couple of beautiful early gardens that I look forward to seeing every April and May. They are easily visible to those who want to check them out. I walk by one of them each week as I enter Christ the King Church from the Engrem Avenue parking lot. The flowers are sheltered from the north wind on that side. The church building combined with the warmth of the sun produce blossoms much earlier than plants that are in an open area.

I also try to take a couple of walks through the gardens at Rutland Regional Medical Center. They are beautifully maintained and many of the flowers and trees there have markers to identify them. The pathways are wheelchair accessible. I have gotten some ideas for my own gardens from what I see there.

Many people have more “down time” now that social activities have been temporarily halted. Since we are asked to practice “social distancing” why not take short car rides, bike rides or walks and enjoy the area gardens that you may not have noticed before. Seeing the beauty of nature is a great “attitude adjustment.” An added bonus is getting ideas for bulbs you can plant in the fall. They need an extended period of cold to produce their color palette in the spring.

One of my own gardens is near the city sidewalk and I often notice people stopping to take a look. When I see a photo being snapped I feel like I have done something right!

The “cause” of us having more time at home may be an unpleasant one but we do have a little control over the “effect” of it on our daily lives. It allows us to spend time outside and enjoy nature. One of my favorite things to do is taking a book outside to read for awhile. Anyone can do that! You might also choose to walk in your neighborhood. This will give you a chance to chat with your neighbors, probably some of whom you have never met. No problem keeping the recommended 6-foot distance when you are in the great outdoors!

Up for a little more activity? A hike in the woods is always a very peaceful way to spend time. Fortunately, Vermont has plenty of woods within its boundaries. How lucky are we?

Stay tuned for more “looking forward” into the beautiful world of flowers and trees as they come into blossom.

Time for me to get outside!

Take care.

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