There are all types of beauty in the seasons — the lushness of early summer where color and vegetation abound; the sepia hues of late fall as once-resplendent leaves finally drift to the ground; the hush of a new snow that lavishly etches dark tree branches. Right now, in our little corner of the world, it is still early spring. Daffodils are appearing along with a few wildflowers, but tree leaves are tightly furled against the still-cool nights. This is not the season of panoramic views, but one that invites you to look closely to see the beginnings of what is to come.
Our lives go through seasons, too. After the winter comes the spring. If you look closely, you’ll see the clear promise of the beautiful flowering to come.
I was driving to an appointment the other day using my favorite routing system – the languid back roads that gracefully traverse our beautiful corner of New Hampshire. I rounded a corner, and a sign posted in front of a neat white farm home assaulted my senses. “Accepting Manure” it proclaimed. My nose wrinkled as I thought, “I would never want a load of excrement, let alone pay for it!”
It made me think, though. Manure is very useful if you know what to do with it. No one ever grew champion crops using sanitized soil. This farmer knew if he wanted the best results, he needed lots of smelly organic material. I thought of recent events in my own life—apparent reversals and challenges. Normally, I think of obstacles as undesirable and long for a life of absolute calm and predictability. Now, I thought of how much I had been growing in this nutrient-rich environment.
Just that quickly, my perspective shifted. Maybe I should stop wishing for different circumstances and welcome the growth medium I was being offered. It’s good stuff if you know how to use it.
I have written before on the vagaries of our country property; it is far from the manicured perfection of our suburban subdivision lot outside St. Louis. Here, green is the new grass. If it’s green it counts as an acceptable ground cover. No more will I try to dictate what or where things grow. What are dandelions except charming seasonal flowers?
What I do love are the spaces around our home that beckon. In our previous life, the lawn was to be observed and admired. In New Hampshire, we have naturescapes that seduce and lure you outside. At the front of our property, undulating below a stately band of trees, is a beautiful moss carpeted area next to a winding brook. Two of those trees have hooks just waiting for the hammock that will stretch between them and offer shaded respite from the summer heat. Just beyond, on the other side of our white picket fence is what I call our “fairy garden”, beautiful perennials and dwarf plants and a bench to sit on and take it in.
It is our pond, though, that I love the most. It is little more than a seasonal drainage receptacle, but now, when it is full and dark, it promises mystery and a watery passage to the woods beyond. The rain dances across its surface, fragmenting the reflection of the tall trees above. There is a large flat topped boulder set on the sandy shore dotted with wild flowers perfect for sitting and contemplating nature and life’s mysteries. If I were a child, it would transport me completely to other worlds and tell me stories only I could hear. Maybe if I sit and look into its depths long enough, I may yet hear them.