When I open the back door this morning the first sound to greet me is the call of a pheasant that comes from down by the fence near the bog. Nothing else. It is a welcome sound, a cry of something new and it assures me that Spring is in the air. The sky, a milky blue shows a wealth of promise and the air is noticeably milder, as if the pinch of Winter slowly dissolves like a bruise on my skin that I believed would never leave.
Beneath the ash tree several daffodils are preparing to gift me. I take more delight in this sight than the most expensive bouquet of flowers that money can buy and, because last years, only paltry green stalks grew there. I wonder if the birds have some hand in this marvel as the daffodils are directly beneath the bird feeders that hosted so many hungry birds these past wretched and endless months.
Today, being St. Patrick's Day happens to be the traditional day to plant potatoes but the ground still harbours the deathly cold the previous harsh days and so, a reprieve is called for. Besides, there is much work to be done before I can get to that satisfactory stage. No. The entire process requires a certain frame of mind. A devotion of sorts. One cannot rush nature and groundwork takes patience. The soil has to be perfect. But everything in its own good time.
And so I wait. I wait for the first yellow to brighten up the garden. I know that the daffodils gauge the right time to appear and how this day can be devious in its unexpected generosity. It can trick and cause in one a false sense of possibility when all the cultivation could result in a vain and frustrating pursuit, when all the toil could be wasted.
The pheasant waits and knows when the time is right to gather up his call and herald the garden with more consistency. A crescendo of love and desire. For now, he settles into an occasional call. A bait. A testing of the waters. Contemplating the right moment, he stands back to survey until his call grows more confident and draws upon a mate.
And so, I too watch and listen for signs. My senses tuned to a slow and respectful pace. Patience reaps rewards and when the time is right I will plant myself anew into a soil rich with colours where the paint may run and smear but ultimately cover the grey canvas of the past year. When the time is right I will know to daub the rich colours of the palette onto my skin and I will strut about the place clad in feathers of teal blue, scarlet red, golds of yellow and rich greens. Oh, yes, the greens are the best. The greening of days. The greening of brilliant days to come when the planting comes easily, a trowel coasting the soil, the harvest guaranteed. Full of promise.