While I try always to find something to admire in the landscape no matter what the season, I find that winter is the most trying time of year. As lovely as a snowfall can be or as breathtaking as winter sunsets are, the long days of staring at the dullness of brown and gray tree trunks and a gray/white palette do take their toll. It takes an effort of the will to tease something interesting out from that most days, and there are times when I just need to see a bit of color. Even the fact that this won’t last forever doesn’t cut it some days, and I find myself missing the sight of the marigolds and nasturtiums that I grow on my deck each year.
Sometimes, I get a bouquet of flowers from the grocery store to offset my winter blues. And when I can’t afford to do that, I resort to going through all the digital photos I’ve taken of flowers over the years. I usually pick one to add as my computer wallpaper, so that I have that at least to look at each day when I boot up in the morning. I’ve also been known to browse magazines and clip photos of flowers to make collages with. I may not do much with them once they’re done, but at least I got the sensation of wallowing in color for a couple of hours.
It occurs to me as I write just how we have organized our special days to coincide with the year’s progression toward spring, when our world is once again flooded with color. Once the Christmas poinsettias and amaryllis are spent, Valentine’s Day is not far behind, serving as the first holiday of the new calendar year when flowers take center stage. Next comes St. Patrick’s Day in March, when the green of shamrocks makes its reentry into our color scheme, and none too soon, I might add. After that, we set our sights on Easter, the culmination of the liturgical year for Christians, and another time when flowers play a large and significant role. By that time, spring is pretty well ensconced in our thinking, as the world around us bursts into new and glorious and colorful life.
No longer a popular tradition, the first day of May, or May Day, was once celebrated by the making of flowery May baskets or by entwining colorful garlands around May poles. Once again, it was all about color, much as it was for Dorothy when she opened the door of her demolished house and stepped out into Munchkinland.
Our own return to color isn’t as unexpected or as much of a culture shock as that, for it comes upon as gradually as all the growing things rewaken slowly as the snow bids us its final farewells for another year. Yet, what I wouldn’t give right about now to open MY door and be flooded with the colors of spring and summer!
Rachel Lovejoy is a retired freelance writer who specializes in nature writing. Her column "From the Urban Wilderness" appears weekly in the Journal Tribune, published in Biddeford, Maine USA. Rachel has also written several ebooks for Kindle Publishing, and is currently working on another. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, music, old movies, photography and feeding the birds.