Spring is a season of hope, as I learned many years ago as I recovered from illness in Japan. And hope is needed this spring as the world faces a pandemic. This spring in Oregon has come with unusual gifts.
The days of April in Oregon are usually spent under gray skies, and we count the days until the Fourth of July when our rainy season typically releases its grip. The only compensation we get in April, but it’s substantial, is the explosion of spring flowers. You name it, we got it: snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils, hellebores, tulips, daphne, cherries, flowering quince, flowering red currants, rosemary, ceanothus, bleeding hearts—and that’s just what’s in my yard.
But this year, when so many of us are confined at home, the weather in the Willamette Valley has given us a boon: blue skies and warm temperatures. We’ve all gone gardening mad. Neighbors are putting in gardens and planting. There are piles of compost and the smell of fresh-turned earth everywhere.
The Northwest Editors Guild had planned a “Stet Walk” just before we were all sent indoors, and I’m sorry we had to miss that. It’s been great weather to get outside. Everywhere you turn there are walkers, runners, bikers, and the flowering shrubs and trees are putting on flamboyant, welcoming displays. There is no doubt that these are dark days, as the sight of masks and gloves reminds us. Times ahead will remain dark with illness and deaths as the days go by. People have lost jobs. For freelancers, work is hard to come by. For all of us, money is tight. Yet the warmth of the sun, the smell of the spring earth, and the beauty of flowers and leafing trees can give us hope and a few moments of respite from the darkness that we need, this blessed spring.