Philosophers call it the leap of faith and truly that's what it is, a leap. It's not something you can will yourself to do, it's just something you do.
Me, I lost my religion a long time ago. The closest I can come to believing is my daffodils.
It's a ritual I started oh, about 15 years ago I guess. Every fall I buy a couple of hundred daffodils to add to the meadow just behind my home. I try to choose one of those warm, sunny Indian summer days when the trees have turned on their autumn show and winter still seems far off somehow.
Experience has taught me that the pictures in the garden supply stores are often a lie. Sometimes the gaudy beauties I have bought bleach out in the sun.
Others have such heavy heads their stems can't support them; they bury their pretty faces in the mud after the first spring rain or heavy wind. And some, some have no scent, the one unforgivable failing.
I take my new bulbs, a bag of powdered bonemeal and my trusty yellow handled shovel out to the meadow and start digging. My cat Zoe, who follows me everywhere with dog-like devotion, is particularly fascinated by this ritual. She loves the smell and taste of the flour like bone meal.
You haven't seen peeved until you see Zoe at the end of a few hours of bulb planting. I open a hole, toss in a couple of handfuls of the white powder and bat Zoe's black nose out of the hole so I can settle in some bulbs. Cover the bulbs with soil and repeat oh, about 35 times. She never gives up.
That moment when I nestle those ugly brown lumps into the ground, believing that they will survive the winter, that buried in their core is beauty, that we will meet in the spring ... that moment is as close to faith as I come.
Today my meadow awoke, a glory of white and yellows in a world still wan and beige, a world still resurrecting from the harshness of a mountain winter. The colour and the perfume wash over me like a blessing.
I live in a very rural, fairly isolated place. Sometimes in my meanderings, I'll pass a field and in it will be a clump of lilacs or a tangle of pink shrub roses.
I know if I root around that spot I'll probably find the remnants of an old stone foundation, that these are the last reminders of a home long gone. I always wonder who planted those things, who it was who craved a bit of frivolous beauty in her life.
Did you know that daffodils can easily last 50, even 75 years without care? Mine will keep our spring pact long after I break it, long after I am done composting in the cemetery across the valley from my home.
I like the idea that someday someone will take a walk in the woods, stumble on my daffodil meadow, and perhaps wonder ...
Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -
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