Oh, yes. I know. April in the Shenandoah Valley is up and down and all around. Some days are heavenly blue and balmy. I ache to capture the beauty, and can’t bear to come inside from the garden.
Daughter Elise brings her camera over, but even her talent cannot totally convey the beauty. A wash of rich green spreads from the yard down across the meadow. Tender new leaves flushed with rose blend in with the many shades of green in the woods on the hills behind our farm. Daffodils, tulips, Virginia bluebells, lilac, pears, bridal veil spirea…beloved blossoms return as old friends to color the trees and flower beds. Wild flowers star the roadside and the creek bank. A wonderland. On those days, we are like ‘The Shire’.
Other days are cold, gray, and windy–as if the Norsemen are coming in their dragon-headed ships. Or the furious wind fairies are gathering to attack, as our resident fairy expert, my niece Cailin, would warn. Soft rains are gentle and sooth the earth. Animals, plants, and people hunker down on the chill-you-to-the bone blasting kind of days. Spring is ‘right mixy’ to quote a local country woman.
The sun has come out… and the air is vivid with spring light. ~Byron Caldwell Smith, letter to Kate Stephens
April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. ~William Shakespeare
The front door to springtime is a photographer’s best friend. ~Terri Guillemets
A little madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.
A wizard must have passed this way
Since—was it only yesterday?
Then all was bare, and now, behold,
A hundred cups of living gold!
~Emma C. Dowd, “Daffodil and Crocus,” in Country Life in America: A Magazine for the Home-maker, the Vacation-seeker, the Gardener, the Farmer, the Nature-teacher, the Naturalist, April 1902
(Elise made an arrangement of violets in an old bottle we found on the farm)
It’s spring! Farewell
To chills and colds!
The blushing, girlish
Each flower, leaf
And blade of sod—
Small letters sent
To her from God.
~John Updike, “April,” A Child’s Calendar, 1965
(An arrangement in our kitchen window by Elise. All images by Elise)
Spring: the music of open windows. ~Terri Guillemets
***Many of our flowers are heirlooms.