Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
— Robert Frost
I almost missed my first glimpse of the season’s transitory flash of gold, arising at my feet on the path’s edge near a garden bench at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens.
Many of the first signs of spring seem to be showing up outside my normal line of sight; looking up, the silhouettes of buds show stark against the sky, and looking down, the blades of crocus and new baby moss are quietly and confidently announcing spring’s arrival.
The view outside my window now is drab sepia, rust, and brown, with a blue-grey backdrop. It’s hard to imagine that soon that spring green with golden highlights will dominate the landscape… especially when the weather man is promising us an “arctic blast” with lows of 28 degrees F on Thursday. This year’s winter has developed an irritatingly clingy personality.
I am determined to spend a little bit more of this summer sitting and enjoying the garden, which means I am currently on the lookout for more comfortable garden seating. In my porch-level container garden, the plan this year is for flowers and herbs instead of tomatoes, so that I can sit and watch the butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds visit from a more close-up and relaxed vantage point. I’ll also be able to look down on the main kitchen garden plantings.
The big question is, how will I ever be able to sit still when I see weeds and unharvested fruits and a million other gardening tasks left undone?
There is always something more one could do in the garden at peak season.
What am I saying? Already there is more than I have time to do in the garden. Although in this season, it is due to the heavy rains making the garden a muddy, unworkable mess, or to cold spells that make the work unpleasant and difficult, sometimes downright impossible.
I guess I’ll just have to choose to take time to relax out there knowing that there will always be more work, but there won’t always be bright blooms and delicious scents and colorful visitors around to enjoy. That’s a lesson I need to learn over and over again in so many areas of my life, it seems.
Impermanence. “So dawn goes down to day,” as Robert Frost sagely reminds us. So often I fall into a kind of walking trance, busy with all of the other stuff, numbing the awareness of truth with habit and rote behaviors, and I forget.
Let’s make today the one day we don’t forget impermanence, don’t forget to revel in the beauty and joys we have access to now.
(p.s. Did you realize that Victory Garden Redux is in the process of changing addresses and titles and generally undergoing a whole new makeover? Come visit its new incarnation, The Enchanted Earth, at theenchantedearth.com.)