Forsythia have always signaled spring to me. Yellow is not my favorite color, but the appearance of these cheery flowers on the dead branches of winter brightens my mood. Every year, whenever they choose to appear.
This year, the forsythia did not appear until April. Some years I see them in February.
That’s the way this year has gone. The winter started slow, but built up a punch. Big snowstorms into March. We even had flakes in April in Kansas City, and blizzards continued in the upper Midwest and in the Mountain States. We smiled at each day of warmth, but then were disappointed when the day was followed by another week of cold.
Perhaps it’s my mood. Illness. Injury. Loss. As each snowstorm and cold front delayed my spring, so did each calamity.
This year, each warm day has given rise to only tentative hope. Is spring here? Maybe. Will it last? Who knows?
But last week, the forsythia did appear. Finally.
So did the magnolia blossoms.
There were no magnolia trees in the desert country where I grew up. When I learned they grew in Kansas City, I demanded one for our front yard. I see it and think of Southern indulgence – Scarlett O’Hara, horse races, and mint juleps on the porch. I may have been working a demanding job and raising pre-schoolers in the year we planted the tree, but I could dream of an easier life.
Of course, my visions of an ideal life were and are only a dream. I’ve never had a mint julep, never been to a horse race. And many years, a January warm spell tricks the magnolia into a single day of beauteous blooms that ice kills the next day.
But last week, the magnolia sprang forth. The flowers lasted through a heavy rainstorm and a few flakes of late snow. As I write, I see them waving in the breeze out the window in front of my laptop.
Spring has sprung. Again. As it does each year, whether early or late. Whether we’ve been waiting, or are surprised by its suddenness.
As it was, is now, and ever will be.