Thursday, May 20, 2010

The imperfect science of marking time

As seasons ebb and flow, slowly giving way one to another, we all have markers by which we measure, miletones unique to ourselves or our families or our communities, things we use to fix us in our current spot in time and space. This year's predictors and markers, however, have been a bit wobbly and uncertain. This Easter lily, for instance, has proven itself wholly unreliable.

You know those photos I've shown you of blooming things? Azaleas? Ornamental cherries? Meyer lemon blossoms, wisteria...that wonderful Seven Sisters rose whose tiny flowers brighten the spring for us? Most of them have bloomed more or less on schedule, some a little late, some in greater or less abundance than usual. The figs, as noted, appeared a week or so later than usual, but give signs of producing crops the richness of which we haven't seen before. And this is all to be expected, for we had a long, cold winter in north Florida, and some might say an even longer, cooler spring than usual. But as they sometimes say about babies who are small at birth, they usually catch up. And so it is with the trees and bulbs and other annually returning flora at our house, except for this Easter lily. Easter has come and gone, my dears.

An argument might be made that a better symbol of returning life and resurrection and timeless, beautiful cycles is the resurrection fern. Holding fast to the bark of the water oaks and live oaks, sheltered by the Spanish moss and the dappled light, it lives through all conditions, coming into glorious color when the rains come, receding into careful, dry, brown preservation mode when the weather is too hot or too dry, or both. It is always there, visible or not, rarely glamorous but steady and reliable as the coming and going of the seasons themselves.


  1. My Easter lily still hasn't bloomed. I check its sweet tight buds every morning.
    I love the resurrection fern like nothing else. I use branches which are covered in it to define places in my yard. They drop down from the trees, the sky, and give themselves to me and I do not discard them. I pay them proper attention and put them to use. I think they like that.

  2. I've never heard of the resurrection fern before, but I can see why it can symbolize returning life. In my area, it has always been the daffodil to signify the marker of Spring.

    I do hope your Easter Lilies bloom larger and more beautiful this year.

  3. My gardenia is loaded with buds ~ June must be coming soon!

  4. Ms. Moon, it seems strange to me that your lilies haven't bloomed yet. Generally, you seem to be slightly ahead of us on the natural calendar. I love that you respect the beautiful ferns as I do.
    Michelle H., I promise to get better pictures for you. They have to be seen to be believed and my phone photos don't do justice. Rodney's real grown up camera will be our friend here. And it's funny for you to send that sweet wish: like just about everything else, they seem to be responding to the cold winter and spring very happily with more abundant flowers than ever!
    Lulumarie - I'm sure you're right about that; I'll check my gardenia and get back to you.
    Love you girls.


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