Thursday, December 13, 2012

Just in Time for Christmas

Not two nights ago, the temperature outside was so warm,
we nearly turned on the air conditioning.
Contrast that with yesterday which was so frigidly miserable
that we all wondered if it was going to snow--
December snow something of a rarity in this part of Virginia.

The air temperature wasn't really that cold--
I think it was 46 or 48 degrees, 
but the wind was viciously sharp,
forcing all of us to draw our coats near 
and keep our heads down 
as we hurried to get out of the weather.

Despite the winter-y chill, 
I went outside and hung the last outdoor Christmas wreath on my house.
And that was when I noticed the snowdrops 
nestled at the trunk of the river birch tree,
their gentle white arriving just in time for Christmas. 

I can't say how many times over the last decade 
I have glanced through the window 
at the forlorn landscape wrought by bleak winter days,  
 only to lay eyes on these delicate blossoms:

What a lovely feeling they give;
their appearance always surprises me.
And I can't help but feel optimistic when I see them.

Even though December is when all the poinsettias appear in stores,
thanks to our climate here in the Shire
we have outside flowers just coming into bloom at the same time.
Besides snowdrops, we enjoy pansies,
Lenten roses, and camellias through the winter. 
Here are some beautiful Lenten roses,
also called Christmas roses:
photo courtesy of

Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring once wrote
that there is something
"infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature--
the assurance that dawn comes after night,
and spring after winter."

And to that I would add,
flowers that bloom just in time for Christmas.

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