You can't hurry love, or the arrival of spring

DamnPunxutawney Félix was wrong in his prediction, which I announced in my previous post, that spring had arrived at the ranch. 

I should have instead paid attention to the real Punxutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania groundhog that a couple of weeks ago predicted we were in for six more weeks of winter.  

Judging by the weather reports of blizzards, ice storms and other wintry calamities lashing most of the U.S. right now, Phil’s forecast was far closer to the mark. 

Truth is, you can’t hurry spring, any more than you can hurry love. Or to paraphrase the 1966 hit by Diana Ross and the Supremes, “You Can’t Hurry Love”:

I need spring, spring to ease my mind…

But mama said you can’t hurry spring

No, you just have to wait

She said spring don’t come easy…

No, you just have to wait,

You got to give it time

No matter how long it takes…

Patience, my ass: Cow’s foot
tree is celebrating spring right now.

Gardeners can be as impatient as the most forlorn of lovers, particularly this year, as we approach the one-year anniversary of lockdown caused by the Covid pandemic.

I wistfully look out our bedroom window every morning for some signs of greening of our ranch, or the mountains beyond us. 

But nah. I just have to wait, and temper my impatience with the thought that, right now, I’d rather be at the ranch than in Boston or Houston.

A few brave plants are starting to come alive here, such as the huizaches, with their tiny yellow flowers. Even the prickly pear and barrel cacti are setting buds that will turn into elegant flowers, but that’s several  weeks away. 

One stunning exception is the cow’s foot tree, called the orchid tree in the U.S., which has exploded with white and lavender flowers, as if it can’t wait for the arrival of spring either.  

Félix and his brother Esteban have been puttering around the ranch for the past three weeks, pulling up dead vegetation, replacing some dead trees, and spreading the bags of compost we’d bought. 

Mama, when can we go out and play?

If this spring is like others before, we still have to go through the trial by fire, when all the dead weeds and brambles around the ranch catch on fire, or more likely, are set on fire by the local delinquents, who are probably just as bored with the scenery as I am. 

And along with the fires and smoke, we can expect strong winds and dust devils, before the blessed relief of the rainy season arrives sometime in June.  

This is not the most scenic time of the year. 

Inside my new greenhouse, though, things are buzzing—if your idea of buzz is dozens of plantlets in trays, lined up like tiny soldiers waiting to go out and fight the elements.  We have four kinds of tomatoes, several varieties of lettuce, radishes, beets, Swiss chard. Plus dozens of flowers, none exotic but all brightly colored, a perfect antidote to the dismal, brownish palette of the winter landscape.  

And on and on, But they, and I, will just have to wait, no matter how long it takes. Just like mama said. 

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