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Clusters of small, white flowers growing at the base of a rock wall which has vines of green and white leaves spilling over the top

My False Spring

Author: admin

A Naif in the Forest by Darrell Berger

Wing Tips to Hiking Boots: Musings of a New, Full-Time Poconos Resident 

I had been looking forward to spring even more than usual. I was getting the vaccine; the last of winter’s fifty-seven inches of snow was almost gone. In a few days I would be looking for the first daffodils. Then I tripped on the last step to the basement. My spring was postponed for longer than any cold snap. 

I barely left bed for two weeks. The large boot became my constant companion as I began a recovery that was slow but ought to be complete. From the bedroom I saw the thermometer hit seventy a couple times. I could see the daffodils break though, then bloom, but could not touch them. The day I finally was able to venture outdoors, the temperature once more was hovering near freezing.  I had intended to take a photo of the daffodils to celebrate spring, but found them sadly drooping, a sight too depressing to photograph. 

Hiding near the deck stairs I spotted these primroses still fighting the good fight nestled among spotted dead nettles, a ground cover whose name is almost as depressing as this weather. They are called “dead” because they are not toxic to the touch, unlike stinging nettles that are called “live.” Why this harmless cover is not called “nice” or “friendly” or “welcoming,” I don’t know. 

The primrose also suffers from bad public relations. They bloom about the same time as daffodils but because they stay close to the ground, they are not as readily seen. Nobody awaits the first primroses of spring, just as nobody remembers the second person that ran a four-minute mile. Yet here they were, their very close-to-the-groundness enabling me to find a not depressing scene, at a time when the daffodils looked like they had gone twelve rounds with Mohammed Ali. 

The primroses reminded me that what I had experienced was indeed, nothing more than a false spring, a temporary setback, both seasonal and ambulatory. Hang in there, say the primrose. Soon even the daffodils will lift their heads again and spring’s promise will be kept.

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