For winter’s rains and ruins are over,
And all the season of snows and sins;
The days dividing lover and lover,
The light that loses, the night that wins;
And time remembered is grief forgotten,
And frosts are slain and flowers begotten,
And in green underwood and cover
Blossom by blossom the spring begins.
-Algernon Charles Swinburne
It is late for this poem; it is nearly summer. Out running one day last week I came by a lone rose in a small, untended orchard, and the weeds surrounding it were taller than the rose. And by weeds, I mean pretty grasses that whisper in the wind, and there were wild poppies too.
The poppies are everywhere now – fields of them – they are both so frail and so hardy. Legions of them grow along the highway, ducking in the whoosh of the trucks and fluttering in their wake, but if you touch those delicate petals, they might fall away.
A poppy will grow anywhere, and that is why I thought of the poem. A poppy will grow in a teaspoon full of pollinated dirt that has settled into a tiny crevice in a stone wall above your head, ducking and fluttering in an incessant wind. It was easy to see that the rose had been part of the orchard owner’s hedge, either long ago, or maybe just last year, and already the pretty weeds had taken over.
The poppies have been around for a while, and the roses are by now full and heavy. Spring began some time ago, and time, it is a very good friend of mine, a patient healer, and the seasons are her remedies.
This week, it’s my birthday, and also the last week of school. Lucky am I to have been born in June, when the trees are green, the weather is warm and a bright, new summer is about to begin, and not a day of it has yet been plucked and used up already. June. Just the sound of it!
Now I’m thirty-four, ten years younger than I was last year and a hundred years older than last year too. Blossom by blossom (even the weeds), another year begins. How I wonder what it holds in store.