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March 11, 2006
I showed off my one snowdrop, which appeared yesterday morning. Its little white bells wave in the breeze, and its piercing green leaves show against the layer of dried leaves that have composted themselves throughout the garden. I know there are more under the leaves waiting; when I get home from my retreat I'm getting out there with a rake.

"So far, I have one purple crocus,"Sally said as we started out in the car. "For Lent."

Soon, very soon, the crocuses will be a carpet. I think the forsythia will bloom next week; its buds are painfully tight, ready to burst. Many daffodils have put up their leaves, and tulips, too. The roses are sending out scores of new canes. In a
few weeks, the Farm going to be a pretty place.

And soon the hummingbird feeders must go out. I have been thinking of Ethel all winter, wondering if she will return. My daughter sent me an article about hummingbird brains, which contain a special kind of memory for places in which they've ever had a good meal. For Ethel, thisv would certainly be our house. For certain sure. That bird ate well.

She's on her way now, I know. They all are: the geese honking their way north, the fat robins hard at work in lawns not yet green. And the hummingbirds. the tiniest and most determined of them all. I think of them all the time, the tiny bodies hurtling on and on through the air.

I want her second coming even more than I longed for her first. Now I know how miraculous she is, amazing beyond my most extravagant hopes. I am sending directions to her tiny brain: Here we are! Here! Between the two rivers, about halfway between! The purple house with the red feeders!

All I can do until she comes, though, is wait and love her from afar. I can't make her come. Maybe she will not. I was all right before I had a hummingbird. I'll be all right again, if she doesn't come.

But that doesn't mean I can't want her.
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