Here Comes the Sun!

Nancy Flynn Apostrophe Blog Archive, Gardening, Wisdom, Writing

The Apostrophe Blog

Musings on Writing and Life.

This was a week all about the sun. One way or another, millions of inhabitants on this geographic outpost of Planet Earth looked up, grew quiet, bore witness, gasped, breathed deep, cheered, clapped, smiled at the 2024 solar eclipse. Even though we were not in the path of totality this time around—see August 2017 for our version of what went on this week in Mazatlan, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Montreal among other places—our corner of western Oregon was all about the sun this week as well. No rain, warmer temperatures, the lengthening daylight of days, the trees leafing to bud, to flower, to exuberance and green. The perennials gone into hiding last fall began their furious (re)emerging—clematis, hosta, deciduous ferns, oxalis, native ginger, hell even a few of the recalcitrant dahlias have begun to sprout leaves of green from their underground tubers in response to so much warmth and light.

And my lazy, overwintered body came to life in all this brightness, too. I moved furniture from the garage to the patios. I weeded. I raked. I swept flagstones. I scraped moss. I cleaned the gutter on the garage that I am tall enough to reach. I pried root-bound plants from their pots and found new homes for them among the perennials in the shade garden. I visited plant centers—Fred Meyer on Interstate, Garden Fever on Fremont, Thicket (the only one within walking distance from our house) just off Alberta on NE 23rd—gathering assorted annuals and perennials to replace the handful of plants that bit the dust during the (hopefully) freak ice storm of January 2024. I emptied pots. I moved pots. I filled pots with soil and assorted new plants. I filled the window boxes. I scrubbed the winter dirt from the shiny scarlet pots that sit on our shade garden deck; upright fucshia along with variegated and ivy geraniums now populate them. And I expanded my hosta empire thanks to a half dozen new and lovely specimens from the thousand or so beauties to be found at Sebright Gardens in Brooks, Oregon earlier today. So many little darlings to quote the famous Beatles song about the returning sun…

And, after all this toil, after all this schlepping and puttering and fussing and work, I finally took a seat. I rested my aching, aging back and watched as assorted pollinators did their things. A mason bee rooting in the moist soil in a newly planted hosta to gather up the mud it needs for its tubular nest. A gaggle of honey bees from the wild hive in the big leaf Oregon maple that dominates the corner of our urban backyard habitat on the hunt for any and all pollen they can find. And, too, came the birds. To the still water in the vintage design Burley Clay birdbaths made in Roseville, Ohio for over 100 years—the only stoneware manufacturer of garden pottery remaining in operation in an area once famous for its pottery factories. To the bubbling water in the concrete dahlia fountain. To the suet feeders and sunflower chip/black-oiled sunflower seed mixture in the two feeders allegedly guaranteed to repel squirrels. All this on what I learned—thanks to an email from West Coast Seeds in British Columbia—is National Gardening Day 2024—who knew?

The pollen count today in the Portland, Oregon area was high. My eyes itch, my nose runs, and I feel beyond spaced out. But I medicated and headed out into the miasma anyway. And here, on this lovely evening after a lovely day saturated in chlorophyll and photosynthesis, fingernails ringed with soil and my jeans streaked with dirt, my hair filled with maple flowers raining from the branches that sway in the wind, I am beyond glad I did. For the moment, this world has become (temporarily) a version of utterly perfect. And who in their right minds does not want to celebrate that?

Nancy Flynn
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