2012 was our first full year as residents of our new state and we filled it up, among other things, with wonder at hoarfrost and tornado skies and ice fishing and Minnesota Nice. I wouldn’t say we’re “old hands” now, but we’re learning.
We discovered that we needn’t worry about the snow and ice on the driveway because the neighbor from across the street showed up one day and apologized for not blowing and scraping from the beginning. “After all,” he explained as I blubbered a grateful thank you, “I do the guy on the other side and I love to ride on my tractor.”
I’ve learned to over-winter the geraniums inside the house, to always have home baked cookies in tins ready to whisk out for drop-in company, and to remember to take my shoes off when entering other people’s houses. Even in summer. It’s the custom here.
I now know why transplants to California from the Midwest or East whined about missing the seasons. “WE have seasons,” I would protest. “It rains and blows fog in the winter and cool ocean breezes in the summer.” Here in Fergus Falls we’ve become weather junkies and I can’t imagine moving through the calendar year now if it were all of a piece.
Previously I took for granted the arrival of a spring robin, new daffodils poking up along the road, year round green, endless sun. It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy it. But it wasn’t a riotous, dramatic occasion for marvel, a promise that our world turns and revolves and reinvents itself anew each year.
Through the upper story window here on Mt. Faith I look down upon the front garden where the snow has buried the outlines of last years new perennial bed. There’s nothing there now but a white blanket and the top half of a stump that last summer held a sun dial, a covered over bird bath, and an empty shepherds hook. I made a preliminary sketch as I was first planting in the spring, but as the summer went along and I got slips of this and that from new garden club friends and purchased spur-of-the-moment-had-to-have plants from local nurseries – the bed simply took on a life of it’s own.
Now it is sleeping and hiding surprises under it’s cover of snow. Fast forward to spring and imagine me running down the stairs each morning, checking for new green breaking through, trying to contain my excitement – “Is that the rudbeckea? Where’s the monarda? Which lily – Casa Blanca? Anna Marie’s Dream? The Datura reseeded!” Giggling now. Jumping up and down. Just a little. You get the picture.
Neophyte, I marvel and stand transfixed by the snow, especially when the flakes waft and dance back and forth on their downward fall. Cue in Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies from Fantasia which tinkles and jingles in my head as I stand, nose pressed against the window glass.
So we’ve been through the seasons – Turn, Turn, Turn – and Ecclesiastes has never seemed more cogent and heaven sent. And we sailed right past the Mayan end of the world, doomsday date on December 22nd which signaled for some, not destruction, but a new beginning of deeper spirituality and promise.
Tonight we slip over into the new year of 2013 and it’s a blank slate.
My wishes for 2013 are that the pieces of my grandmother’s peonies grow and bloom, that the William Baffin roses by the new arbor survive, that I pass the Minnesota Master Gardener test, that I get something (plural) published, that there are no hideous dental bills and the car performs without a hitch, that we stay hale and healthy, that Noelle comes for the family reunion/wedding next summer, that children and grandchildren come to visit and are enchanted, and that all over the planet people decide to make protecting and loving our Mother Earth their first priority.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2013!
“Human Consciousness arose but a minute before midnight on the geological clock. Yet we mayflies try to bend an ancient world to our purposes, ignorant perhaps of the messages buried in our long history. Let us hope we are still in the early morning of our April day.” – Stephen Jay Gould