The April Garden 2023
Winter seemed as though it would last forever. I found myself feeling hints of dissapointment that our last day of frost was slated for late April! This time last year we had already planted the zinnias and sunflowers, the wildflowers. The oak trees had already been green for a bit. We had a long spring. The buttercups had come and gone, the rest of the native flowers followed. But it wasn’t till April 22 of this year that we could begin our Spring Planting Weekend.
And by the way that spring weekend was nigh unto perfect. Beginning with the Curious George movie on into some housework, eating snack on the fresh mowed grass, and drinking raspberry smoothies with extra added sugar (why not?!), followed by hanging bird seed ornaments, planting zinnia seeds, and sprucing up the flowerbed.
The evening was for sunflower seeds and second rounds of coffee after I made the most delicious creamy iced mocha that afternoon. All that to say, when we finally did get to do our official spring planting, it was birdsong and perfect weather and many high points of life. But getting there felt too long, and I didn’t want to spring to feel as short as it was shaping up to be.
However, Heidi’s flowerbed told the real story, the story I wrote within the pages of Hope Gives a Eulogy and titled Decades, the one I’ve lived before and was reminded of again–
Spring is never late.
It may take decades, but it is not late.
We hadn’t yet done any planting in Heidi’s flowerbed, but on the day we began our Spring Planting Weekend, the yellow and orange flowers sown last year opened up as though spring didn’t need our help at all. (And does it ever??)
Those fledgeling flowers had been slowly blooming all month long, but it felt a bit like a crescendo on that particular weekend. We had no idea all those flowers would come back like that. We fit zinnias in Heidi’s flowerbed in the spaces between the wildflowers, mums, and another bushy flower I don’t know the name of.
We have a few more zinnia starts to plant in the small space left. But the point is spring came exactly as it should, and of course, so much bigger than I thought it could when spring had initially felt so “late.” I thought I’d have to wait longer for it to feel and look like spring in the garden, but it turns out that even though we had to plant so late this season, spring was not dependent on us. It came right on time in its own happy, surprising way as it always does. Even the grape vine feels excited to bloom with leaves expanding overnight in a flurry of joy I am amazed by.
Not only have I been reminded (and lived again) the true story within that Decades poem, but now two years after I penned it, I realize I’ve been living in its second ending. Not an alternate ending, but a second one.
The truth about spring is quite
it can take
and never be
That’s the poem I wrote for my poetry book, Hope Gives a Eulogy. Everything I lived up to that first point of spring–the one in soul and spirit and life–are not known as “lost years.” God is too great, His Presence too real, His kindness and Shepherding so transformative that within the decades lie a good story.
I discovered after the long spiritual and emotional valley, spring had come to the valley itself. It was not late. Could not possibly be late. Or ever be late. God had done His wondrous work. I had been loved by Him. Changed by Him. Held by Him. Spring had always been in the ground, and in my case, God gave me children which added to the spring God had already been working in and around me. But here I am two years later, two kids in tow and the poem has a second ending.
And when the spring did
it went on and lasted
not making up for
just being beautiful
time.-S.V.F., Decades II
Of course, there are bitter winters and brittle autumns, and summer fields invaded by poisonous snakes (and sometimes every single season all at once somehow!), but this is a poem for spring. Because there is a spring! And it has been a good one.
So, I let it be good. I keep my arms open, my hands filled with wildflowers, and step into the blessings of Decades that feel more like flowers than frost.
I rejoice in both “endings”, knowing full well there is more to come, but I can rest beneath the shadow of God’s wings for whatever does or doesn’t happen. Walking with God means there is no lost time, no lost years, no lost things, and no late springs.