In this New England valley, spring first arrives in the form of bulb shows at two local colleges. For two weeks in early March, when the ground outside is often still buried in piles of old, icy snow and the wind still pierces through winter coats, students at Mt. Holyoke and Smith fill greenhouse spaces with displays of spring bulbs and flowers of every type, hue, and scent.
A friend and I usually gravitate to the Mt. Holyoke show at Talcott Greenhouse—smaller and less crowded than the Smith show and every bit as lush. This year a collaborative sculpture spanned the length of the room, representing the three seasons that students are at school, fall leaves becoming winter snow and then spring blooms.
As always, the first thing I notice as I enter the space is the scent of hyacinth, narcissus, and damp earth. I pause and absorb the color and light and scent before making my way slowly down one aisle and up the next then around again, this time taking pictures—oh so many pictures. For twenty minutes, my body lets go of its wintertime hunch and shrug.
I come home from the bulb show to my snow covered garden and devour the pictures I’ve taken, hungry for the light and color.
But gradually in the following days, as temperatures moderate and the snow recedes, I begin my daily search of garden beds, cheering when the first green shoots of crocuses appear and then the first small purple blossom, the nubs of Hellebore blooms, and more and more green shoots poke through.
This poem from Jean Connor speaks to the season of yearning and waiting and remembering.
And finally, a link to a song I’ve been listening to, I Arise Facing East, from Cindy Kallet, Ellen Epstein, and Michael Cicone.