That’s how it is supposed to be; this is why we live here. It is unsettling when the seasons get confused; the daffodils and woodchucks and skunks are baffled.
So am I.
Despite the balmy weather plaguing the Northeast this winter – thank you global warming, or perhaps due to the hot, vile air from Trump – I will continue the family tradition of forcing spring to occur mid February.
This tradition is a promise of what is ahead; that all is not dark and grey. Spring is in fact coming if we are patient and notice the little changes day by day.
We have forced spring to bloom with forsythia since I was a little girl.
I’d come home and there’d be vases of sticks all over the house. Knobby, prickly sticks poking out of jelly jars, pitchers, empty wine bottles. They were everywhere: the kitchen counter, mantlepiece, bathroom vanity.
It was the first sign of spring growing up, right in the middle of the doldrums of winter, usually in the middle of our kitchen table.
Soon enough, the sticks evolved into bubbles of hope, then bursts of sunshine, and by the time the petals fell off inside the house, they would begin all over again outside on the giant bushes that lined the roads and edged the fields.
For years after my grandmother gave up on New York state winters and fled to Florida like it said she must in some unwritten, assumed senior citizen contract, my dad would send her boxes of sticks each February.
Forsythia branches, the clipped ends wrapped with wet newspaper, rubberbanded tightly, then tucked snug in a plastic bag, before being gently boxed and sent overnight to sunny Florida.
This forsythia tradition continues today, winter or not. We bring the branches inside, place them in jugs and vases and empty wine bottles, and patiently wait for spring to come.
It’s always worth the wait to see what spring promises to deliver.