Preparing To Be Dazzled…

Nancy Flynn Apostrophe Blog Archive, Gardening, Musings, Neighborhood, Writing

The Apostrophe Blog

Musings on Writing and Life.

We are still a week away from the official vernal equinox, when the sun crosses the celestial equator making its way to the north. I just learned from a Duck Duck Go search that spring arrives a half-day or so earlier than usual because 2024 is a leap year. It will be dark when it finally hits, just after eight p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Unlike today, the first bright one after what felt like a forever of gray and cold and windy and wet Pacific Northwest days. Walking around, celebrating an afternoon of sun, the streets are muddy, littered with fallen branches, matted leaves along the curbs and in the storm drains—the detritus of a winter that had its moments of harsh and formidable patches, that ground me, for one, down, made me want to hide inside with book after library book.

Oh, the floral dazzling has begun! The cold-weather-hardy and showy camellias are getting a run for their blossom money with competition from flowering fruit trees, hellebores, and early bulbs especially hyacinths and daffodils. I feel like I venture back out into the greening world and end up taking the same photographs year after year after year. But the beauty remains arresting, stopping me in my walking tracks. And these blooms are new, different, utterly singular from the ones that grew in similar spots in the past, I am sure of it. There is so much work to be done with the resurrections promised with spring. : Bark to rake from the dahlia beds, sheets of plastic to be folded or rolled up, bark to then be spread in the back garden as mulch. More trimming of perennials, more weeding of perennial beds, more waiting waiting waiting for the fiddleheads, the hostas curls, the coneflowers to re-emerge.

Per the online Oxford English Dictionary, there is a noun: dazzlement. But I am consumed by the verb, in many ways blinded by its not-at-all archaic light.

dazzle | ˈdaz(ə)l | verb [with object] (of a bright light) blind (a person) temporarily: she was dazzled by the headlights. • amaze or overwhelm (someone) with a particular impressive quality: I was dazzled by the beauty and breadth of the exhibition. • [no object] archaic (of the eyes) be affected by a bright light: my eyes dazzled and I could not movenoun brightness that confuses someone’s vision temporarily: [in singular] :  a dazzle of green and red spotlights.

Yet not too bright! And oh so gradually! Emily Dickinson reminds us in one of her most famous poems (well at least its first line) because who would then want universal sightlessness as our fate?

Tell all the truth but tell it slant — (1263)

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

The water sprout branch (scientific term for it according to the tree scientist husband) of the flowering cherry is telling me its truth and at a slant. And still it dazzles…

Nancy Flynn
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