When the apricot trees bloom, as they always do, too early against the blue sky and then are inevitably nipped by the last severe frost at the end of March!
Not being native to the southwest, the apricot trees never learn. Once the Navajos in Canyon de Chelly found a way to keep them blooming and protected them so they could bear fruit—until the U.S. military invaded, killing Navajos or driving them away and uprooting their apricot trees.
Always there is darkness under beauty, and our inescapable sense of the suffering of the innocent at the hands of the less-innocent, the not-intentionally brutal who uproot so many flowering lives—the refugees we see every morning on the news and the homeless who throng our streets, living reminders of our human capacity for cruelty.
But now volunteers for Hospice are selling bunches of daffodils at the street corners…
Pip is not aware of our capacity for cruelty, although when he was abandoned ten months ago, before he was picked up by Animal Control and taken to the Santa Fe Shelter where I found him, he may have had some dim dog sense of betrayal.
Now I have as a daily tonic to my own darkness his wild frolic down the trail in the spring woods, where, off-leash for once, he plunges after other dogs to leap and play. I also have the poetry of my childhood, which my mother knew and occasionally recited:
“When daisies pied and violets blue
and lady-smocks all silver white
And cuckoo-buds of yellow hue
Do paint the meadows with delight…”
By William Wordsworth:
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils…”
Here in the arid, over-warm, drought threatened desert southwest, there are no daisies or lay-smocks or cuckoo-buds (whatever they may be) and only a scattering of violets in shady corners and daffodils in irrigated gardens. Our spring comes with a roar of wind and startling blasts of cold air, but it is spring, nonetheless, and Pip and I rejoice.