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April 2, 2008
If everyone can just hang on for a week or two, we'll get you all outside, I tell the big ficus in the living room. She's been muttering to herself from her place by the window for a week or two now. Just yesterday I snipped four yellow leaves off her, the botanical equivalent of getting one's bikini area waxed. It's time: spring is here, and a plant gets cabin fever.

The cats feel it: Kitten comes in the back door and immediately wants to be let out the front. He runs Ben and What's-Her-Name all over the yard, pouncing just when they've found a nice sunny spot for a little lie-down. They find him intensely annoying, but I can't help feeling that he's good for them: older cats need exercise, too.

As do older people. The garden calls to me whenever I walk through it on my way to the church, or even just to get the newspaper in the morning. It wants to show me the day's news: more daffodils, extremely fat and nice this year, and more tiny bright blue scilla. More glossy red-tinged leaves on the rose bushes, more pregnant buds on the lilac tree. The lilies of summer have broken through the surface of the soil to begin the long season of preparation for their moment of glory in August, when their trumpets will open to the sun and fill each night with intoxicating perfume. I clean and clip a little more every day, uncovering the lovely dark soil, the creeping sage already at work along its surface.

The cats help with the gardening. They do as much as a cat can: walk carefully along the stone path, sit and watch me from the wooden bench, creep silently among the forsythia. Once in a while Ben offers a suggestion, and I always take it under advisement.

It seems that winter was very short. It seems only recently that I was out in the garden in the spring, but it has been a whole year. Years are really short now, shorter than they were once. That's a great blessing -- we don't have to spend nearly as much time waiting for excellent things to happen, and awful things are over with sooner.

Tomorrow I think I will put out the hummingbird feeders and begin to lie in wait for some tiny visitors. It's time.
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