Joe Pye weed

A Season for Living in the Present

It’s hard not to live in springtime’s present. Anticipation has me observant of the greening; to see if maple twigs have swelled for a blush of red against the sky; to hear the increased urgency in birdsong.


On warmer days I cannot stop myself from heading outside with a fine-tined rake to gently brush away the thick layer of leaf litter from garden beds. There are signs of life amongst the brown and the dead.  A greyed stem of Joe Pye weed, perforated with small round holes is evidence of life in winter’s debris. A bird must have probed this stalk with its beak for overwintering insects.

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The discovery of pink shoots of Solomon’s seal, tender green leaves emerging around dried plant stalks, the buzz of ground-nesting bees. All heighten my awareness that spring is well on its way.  Growth is fast this time of year. Nubs of cinnamon fern by the pond have shot up in the past few days. Now they are erect, fuzzy stems bearing fiddleheads that demurely touch each other as they wait to unfurl.  Moss has greened rocks around the pond all winter. But now the green hue deepens and the moss softens, covered with a fine fuzz of sporophytes. Pairs of the first leaves of jewelweed seedlings have appeared at the water’s edge.

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Early spring has signs that are eagerly awaited and thus easy to follow. Later in the year we tend to take it all for granted, making it hard to embrace the minutiae of nature. But I strive to find joy from quiet observation in the present, whatever the season, in my garden designed for wildlife habitat.