When I landed here in Portland, the early spring blooms were just on their way out. I had left Denver just as the weather was turning for the worst, with a month of snow pretty much for all of April there. Here, though, the cherry trees, crab apples, daffodils, and tulips were all blooming in full swing. For the month of April, I truly felt like I had jumped about six weeks ahead in the year, and realized that really had come to a new climate zone. It felt other-worldly.
Today, as I was walking to the hardware store for yet more stripper to do yet more work on the bathroom from hell in our house, I took even more shots of the flowers around here. Honestly, I’m overwhelmed by them all. The thing is, I don’t know the last time I’ve had the time to really stop and enjoy them.
I used to work in the garden center at Home Depot back in Portsmouth, NH while attending UNH for my undergrad. I saw flowers come in nearly daily, and had a few moments to enjoy them, but really, it felt like the season for growing and blooms was totally rushed there. Plants arrived in late February (in New Hampshire!) and continued on into July. After the 4th of July, it was as if all growing and blooming had stopped. Spring blooms were replaced with early summer, early summer replaced with midsummer, midsummer replaced with late summer, and then fall bulbs were out for sale. It was as if the entire growing season was compressed, and the rush to get to the holiday season, where retailers make their big bucks, was all there really was to worry about.
Now, though, I’ve got time. And space. I can take a stroll and enjoy seeing the developments in the gardens around my house. Things are sprouting and blooming at their pace, and my own pace is seemingly matching them. I know this will sound weird, but it feels like I’ve fallen into a much more natural rhythm with my own life, and I can mark the movement of time by the plants and flowers around me again. Much like I could when I was a young man living on a homestead in Maine, I am learning when things bloom, leaf out, go dormant, and the like. I am processing where the shadows fall throughout the day. I am growing more accustomed to the sounds and smells of the seasons passing. It feels as it should.
This is, perhaps, a real settling in. In all my moves and shuffles to and fro from city to city, state to state, I really was moving at a pace that was not normal or natural. Perhaps I never felt settled because I was too caught up in a schedule and rhythm that was a facade.