Snowdrops! I have Snowdrops blooming in the Arbor Garden and not just a few. A whole patch has poked up its heads and opened into full blossom.
This should be a long awaited, much anticipated moment of pure joy for our winter weary souls. Instead, I feel both deep pleasure in seeing these dear friends again and a bit of anxiety as well.
The timing feels off. Snowdrops usually donâ€™t blossom here until the end of March or beginning of April. They come at the tail end of our maple sugaring season, not before we have even tapped the maple trees.
Thatâ€™s another thing. It’s been so warm that I am sure the maple sap is running. I asked the maple trees we tap if I should tap them now, weeks before we usually begin our sugaring season. The maples suggested I wait, but not for long. Maybe next week? They too seemed a bit up in the air about when to tap.
I expected to remain concerned about global warming in general but glad for our micro-climate. New Hampshire winters feel like a small eternity to me. But this moderating weather is not leaving me glad for our micro climate either. I had a wake up call last fall that suggested a moderating climate poses unexpected difficulties for all the plants here on our hilltop.
Last fall, we went deep into the season without a killing frost. This seemed like a gift until we had a snowstorm just days after the first frost. Because of this late frost, the leaves were still on the trees so the snow stuck to the branches of trees that usually do not have leaves on them when snow falls. As a consequence, many trees suffered damage. Apple trees in our orchard and poplars along the hedgerows were uprooted by the weight of the snow. Almost every tree in our garden lost big branches with several trees split in half.
The Hawthorn with which we make our beloved Honeybees in the White Hawthorn Flower Essence went from being one of the most luxurious trees in our yard to a skeleton of just a few branches. The combination of its gorgeous orange berries and leaves still on the tree left this tree particularly vulnerable. The snow broke all but a few of its branches. Come spring, whenever that may be, I am not sure the tree will be able to go on. This lovely friend in our garden may be gone.
So now I am not so certain that what appear to be benign changes are benign. Is it a good thing for us to have Connecticut winters? I donâ€™t know.
I close with a message the Maple elementals gave me after I finished writing this piece. I found their words consoling and comforting. I hope you do to. I share their message with much love.
â€œWinds of change blow in your valley Molly. We remain grounded in the eternal verities but weather is not one of them. So expect the unexpected but also know that we will prevail through this bittersweet time.
It is your community with us more than the fruits of your labor which matter most to us. So let go of your concern about the right window for sugaring this year. We cannot predict ourselves what will happen during this unusual spring. Rest in the knowledge that even if there is only a small amount of syrup made this season, it is your daily visits to us that are the real gift to you and us.
So look into each bucket with your same curiosity and wonder, even if the bucket is empty. Chat with us and hug us as you always do. Walk beneath our outspread branches and feel our love for you, unchanging season to season. And let go of your worries. To stand together in loving embrace and together love the earth beneath us all. This is the imperishable sweetness of our time together.â€