We’ve been watching the garden, waiting for these to open, so we could draw them for our homeschooling Botany block. And here they are, a faithful little marker of the season: lily-of-the-valley, the traditional flower of the first day of May.
The First Green of Spring
Out walking in the swamp picking cowslip, marsh marigold,
this sweet first green of spring. Now sautéed in a pan melting
to a deeper green than ever they were alive, this green, this life,
harbinger of things to come. Now we sit at the table munching
on this message from the dawn which says we and the world
are alive again today, and this is the world’s birthday. And
even though we know we are growing old, we are dying, we
will never be young again, we also know we’re still right here
now, today, and, my oh my! don’t these greens taste good.
We are seeing the last of the tulips here. (This is a detail from a larger painting.)
There is a garden at the heart of things,
Our oldest memory guards it with her strong will.
Those who by love and work attain there
Bathe in her living waters, lift up their hearts and
Turn again to share the steep privations of the hill;
They walk in the market but their feet are still.
from The Promised Garden, by Theo Dorgan
This morning we officially began our homeschooling Botany block, with springtime poetry, an early morning picnic and stroll under the cherry blossoms, and a long conversation about the astonishing, exuberant and generous world of plants, which brings forth hourly surprises in this season. (Was it only last month that a mountain of snow still blocked the alley exit?)
Lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
the flowers appear on the earth;
the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
—Song of Solomon 2:11-13