Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pensive monitor of fleeting years ...

Northwest Iowa is under a bright red blizzard warning on the weather maps this morning as winter takes another turn. But down here, we're anticipating rain and highs in the 40s and 30s --- rather than the unseasonable 70s of the last few days.

Kay has been moving around the museum grounds on these mild days, armed with barrow and rake, clearing away just enough fall and winter debris, but not too much.

And when she peeled back a thin veneer of oak leaves in front of Otterbein Church, the snowdrops appeared.

These tiny flowers, generally looked upon by gardeners as harbingers of spring, are not necessarily blooming in an untimely manner. They venture forth in February here and are capable of taking care of themselves.

We do worry about the fat buds on our small star magnolia, however, and other varieties elsewhere around town.  Some years, these marginally hardy species burst into bloom unimpeded by cold; other years, a hard freeze strikes at a crucial time and all that beauty withers.

All that can be done is to wait and see.

In the meantime, here's Wordsworth's vintage 1819 tribute, "To a Snowdrop ...."

Lone Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget, 
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!

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