I was talking with my ninety-three year old mother-in-law last week, saying I was hoping to find the energy to clean out the flower beds around our house later in the morning. She is a life-long gardener, and lived most of her life in Oregon, so when she cautioned me to wait a few weeks before doing anything like that, I listened to her. "It will get cold again," she said, "and there's always a chance of snow in March."
When I woke this morning, I silently thanked her for her sage advice, because the first thing I saw when I looked out the kitchen window was - snow! There's not a lot of it, and it looks as if the precipitation has already turned back to rain, but there are patches of snow all around our house - on the lawn and the decks, on my car, and coating the clear plastic domes that protect our two bird feeders on the back deck.
The daffodils still seem just fine.
This reminded me of the first spring I spent in Boston, after moving up there from Philadelphia. We'd had a week of absolutely perfect, glorious spring weather, after a very hard winter. My son's dad and I went for a long walk along the Esplanade, abandoning our parkas and gloves for light jackets, breathing in the smells from the trees and the newly grown grass, and loving the feel of the warm sun on our faces.
A week later, on May 11th, it snowed - big time. I think we ended up with a foot of snow in that freak storm, and the gorgeous magnolia trees that grace Commonwealth Avenue lost every single blossom. Gah!
When I lived (and gardened) in Massachusetts, I learned that it was wise to wait until May 31st to plant a garden. So when I wake to snow here on the other side of the continent, in a city that could have been called "Boston" rather than "Portland", had a coin-toss gone differently, I know that I'll be out in the garden within a couple of weeks, doing as much as I can to clear things out before my energy disappears.
I can't wait to plant vegetables again this year. But I will.