Spring Time Knee Socks – la dee da

When I was a little girl Easter was the dawning of spring.  My mom, an accomplished seamstress, sewed me and my two sisters twirly Easter outfits – new cotton dresses or skirts and one year, I recall, she even fashioned us bonnets after taking a hat making course.  Our family of seven would take the first trip of the year Up North to Vermilion, Alberta to visit my grandparents.  On Sunday morning, we’d take the curlers from our heads, shake out our bouncy curls (from our normally pin-straight hair) and deck ourselves out in our new Easter outfits.  Despite it being cool enough for crusty snow along the fence and under the trees, it would be a treat to leave off itchy leotards, and pull up instead, brand new white knee socks.  I remember the freedom of that –  my bare legs eager for a bit of afternoon sun to warm them.

Now I have a granddaughter myself and I no longer have a grandmother.  I rarely sew anything and despite having purchased some lovely material, the outfit I bought my granddaughter for an Easter celebration at the family cottage was her first pair of overalls and a bright white onesie with teeny flowers on the collar.  But some Easter traditions must be resurrected each year and in the spirit of that, I brought up the famous Paas Easter egg decorating kit and after the two-year-old was tucked up in bed, her mom, and my mom and my sister and I, all dyed the tips of our fingers green and blue and red, in the process of creating the fancy eggs of my youth.

Oh Baby

And of course, all of us sentimental and reminiscing adults, laid out an Easter egg hunt for the only wee one young enough to be captivated by the search for the over sized-chocolate-holding plastic egg containers, though still too young to grasp the suggestion that a big bunny placed them in their obvious spots among the crocuses and  hyacinths. 

Maybe by next year I’ll sew her a twirly dress and find some teeny knee socks – but I think we observed enough tradition to successfully call up the glory of spring.

Patience is a Spring Time Virtue, right? Right??

We’ve been fortunate enough to take a holiday from the  hard Canadian winter and escaped to Maui , along with groups of spring break tourists with kids of all ages in tow, tiny children splashing bravely through aqua waves, to pouty teens glued to their cell phones.  I felt blissful in Hawaii.  My Alberta-straight hair curled with the soft humidly.  My skin glowed (or perspired), turning light brown – where it wasn’t glowing red.

We jumped waves, lay on the beach and drank by the pool – and our drinks always had little umbrellas in them beside the chunk of pineapple – it was part of the holiday.  As I walked along the tropical landscape I picked up plumeria blossoms and held them under my nose, trying to hold the  luscious sweet scent in my memory.  I took photos of the red ti leaves and of the even brighter ruby-colored torch ginger. I aimed my camera at the startling orange tulip tree and below it at a brilliant yellow hibiscus, and even at the comical pineapples dropping off a palm tree during a hard gust of wind.  I wore sandals and breezy skirts and bathing suit tops – I had purposely left behind any gray and black summer clothes – those too often being the colours of my winter wardrobe.

I never forgot that I was in vacation land – not my own land. With the time change we arrived back home in Calgary midmorning.  We didn’t say much as the taxi drove us passed what is still, despite my hopeful fantasy otherwise, a gray, white, and beige landscape.  While my husband tried to deal with his jet leg, I slipped my  brown bare feet back into a pair of winter boots, as there were still small heaps of snow outside and I walked the garden – the way gardeners do in the spring.  I forgot the huge Hawaiian leaves and dazzling tropical blossoms and looked so carefully, pushing at the soil with a stick until I found the tiny red-tipped tulip leaves struggling through the firm soil, then further along a clump of round fresh leaves of an early columbine plant reaching for the sun, and finally – spiky deeper green shoots of a chive, as well as a young strawberry plant in the corner of the vegetable garden.

My tropical holiday was like a trip to Atlantis – mystical in its abundance of   showy  displays of blo0ms.  But home again, I have no choice but to wait patiently for colourful floral and fauna.  I can only anticipate the blanket of snowy pink apple blossoms, the  crimson hollyhocks waving on long stems, a scattering of  midnight blue cornflowers, or my magnificent rose-hued double poppies springing up somewhere new.  I promise myself to appreciate them more than ever when they come, to marvel not just at their beauty and grace, but at their hardy fortitude.

Give Me Teeny Green Buds of Hope and Promise

“Autumn arrives in early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day.”
–  Elizabeth Bowen

I’m not looking for something more, or something dramatically better, just please – something else.  I don’t want to see the tip-tip top of a rose bush’s dry crumbled leaves poking out of three feet of banked snow.  Give me teeny green buds of hope and promise.

I’ve had enough of the orange electrical cord stretched across the front yard to the car, whose battery was fine eight months ago, but is as worn away by the freezing weather as we are now.  Give me a line of trickling water running from the eaves to the drainpipe outside our bedroom window and down to the street.  The drip-drip sound will delight me now, rather than annoy me.

I’ve had enough of heating the car for a quick excursion because I can’t bear to sit my butt one more time on flipp’in seats like blocks of ice, and gingerly hold the steering wheel with four fingers less I frost bite my hands gripping it.  Give me sunshine and puddles and I will dance through them walking to the nearest grocery for milk and eggs.

Don’t make me wear my heavy wool coat one more time, or lose another glove, or wipe salt stains from my sturdy winter boots.   Let me don a carefree sweater against a soft spring breeze, a skirt swirling about my winter white legs, bare feet inside a pair of flats that expose the tops of my feet.

I don’t want to shovel the walks anymore.  I don’t want to.  I don’t want to.  I don’t want to.  I will prematurely rake the brown grass.  I will giddily push the lawn mower and drink the scent of cutting the fresh new lawn.  I will plant sweet peas in the wet soil and lovingly dig holes to push glad bulbs into.

Please mother nature.  Please.