The calendar says spring is only about a week away.
Hah! I'm not buying it. What about you?
One of the reasons I remained in the Research Triangle after my divorce many years ago rather than return home to Long Island was that, well, it's just so darn cheerful here. Seriously: Strangers smile at each other. Neighborhoods are beautifully landscaped. And the skies are blue—even in winter.
Except this year. When I really, really need the blue.
I'm normally one of those weird folks who actually enjoys the occasional rainy day and who tends to recoil from an overly bright sun—I did live in England for a year, after all. But the gray skies and drizzle day after day, week after week this winter are more than I can bear.
So when an emotionally taxing weekend with my memory-impaired elderly mother was followed by the sun poking its head out from behind the clouds for a few hours a couple of Mondays ago, I simply
had. to get. outside.
Have you ever hopped in your car and started driving, not knowing where you were going but bursting with the need to just go? And maybe not stop for...like...hours?
Well, much as I wanted a true escape, I couldn't afford several hours away from work. My best nearby bet for a spirit-refresh was a visit to the JC Raulston Arboretum at NC State. I figured a walk amongst the skeletal trees would at least give me some overdue vitamin D, if not the scents and colors I usually crave from a garden.
Boy was I wrong.
Indeed, the trees hadn't yet started growing their leaves, but flower buds were absolutely everywhere! And because the branches were still bare, every tiny nub was out in the open, for all the world to see.
I squished my way from tree to tree, nearly losing my shoe in the mud several times (did I tell you it's been raining here a lot?), ravenous for every nascent flower, every subtle scent.
I'd like to believe I am connected to the universe and present in each moment. But the experience of spring budding out of root-soaked, dormant trees was thoroughly unexpected—and a wonderful reminder that hope is always there.
If you get quiet enough, and listen with your soul, you can feel life springing forward all around you. That glorious afternoon, it was encouraging me to do the same.
Are you overdue for your own sunny stroll through a garden? Try one of the scents the North Carolina Museum of Art commissioned from me for recent Art in Bloom festivals: