Too Soon for Spring

Rose Jan 20

The yard seems blissfully unaware of next week’s weather forecast, which calls for overnight temperatures in the teens and highs barely above freezing.

Pear Tree Jan 20

Perhaps the yard knows more about forecasting weather than our current computer models? The roses, pear tree, and hydrangea have roused from their winter slumber, as have the tulips and hyacinths.

Hydrangea Jan 20

Tulips Jan 20

(This is the same hyacinth that I photographed earlier this month…)

Hyacinth Jan 20

It’s not just the plants. A swarm of hoverflies invaded the yard today.

Hoverfly Jan 20

And the winter flocks of robins have broken up. They chirp testy challenges to each other as they forage, defending larger and larger spheres of territory. Last week, seven or eight birds happily shared the pear tree’s branches. Today, there was only one.

Robin Jan 20

The weeds needed mowing yesterday, which shaved off an entire crop of blooms. A few escaped the mower’s blades, mostly those growing in the iris beds and cactus pots.

Deadnettle Jan 20

Weed Jan 20

While photographing weeds, I noticed the old cactus seems to have produced some kind of seed this year. Would I get a new cactus, if I planted it?

Cactus Jan 20

Finally, I considered washing the windows today, but decided to put it off again. They aren’t completely opaque, yet…

Cat Jan 20

I’ll get to it later this week. Maybe.

The Old Cactus

When we moved into this house in 2001, we found a potted cactus abandoned by the previous owners. Since then the cactus has outgrown three pots, survived snowstorms and hurricanes, and inspired a cactus-themed flower bed. But it isn’t a pretty creature. Spiders haunt its tightly-woven spines, spinning dense shrouds of web around its base. Leaves cling to it, and its barbs penetrate leather gloves as easily as they run through flimsy cotton. Its trunk is twisted, half-collapsed on one side, leaning heavily against a trio of stakes.  I wonder, sometimes, if it aches with age. If it feels the listing slump of years and yearns for the tall, unblemished symmetry of youth.

And then it blooms. More and more blooms each summer. More and more beautiful…