Signs and Signals: Spring

While I was waiting for the muse to inspire me to paint the studio floor, I wandered outside with my camera, doing the rounds of the back 40. To my delight,  Portland once again promises that spring is not as far away as it really is.

Daffodils (and weeds) are starting to appear, and it’s only January 8. Eat your hearts out, Pennsylvanians!

The enormous boxwood threatening to eat the fence, even though Jer seriously chastised it last year with his bow saw, has buds that look ready to pop.

Don’t ask me what these look like when they bloom. This boxwood, which was about 2 feet tall when we moved in, was a trash bush, hidden behind the fence where we tend to sling limbs that need cutting up, old junk lumber, and odd bits of concrete that will someday be removed. Because it was, until recently, very much out of sight, I never looked at it. But this year, having been encouraged by Jer’s severe pruning efforts, it is now threatening the forsythia, on the driveway side of the fence and showing off these rather charming buds.

And speaking of the forsythia:

As soon as the amaryllis stops blooming, I will cut some of these and bring them into the house to bloom inside. It’s an annual ritual that promises spring even while the rain continues.

Of course, these promises of spring are deceptive. They start early — but they continue late. In April, when the rest of the world has sprung into glory, it will be raining in Portland, and the ash trees that right now are starting to show golden sap will reserve their leaves for May.

In theory, Portland’s springs teach one patience. In practice, thinking spring is almost here is a bit like waiting for the floor-painting muse to show up. –June

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4 Responses to Signs and Signals: Spring

  1. june says:

    Judy, I’ve heard of Skimmia, but never actually knew what it was. Thank you. This thing certainly has out-paced its allotted space and then some. But we are just thankful it doesn’t have thorns.

    I met one of your neighbors at Jef’s soiree the other night. I hope she got a chance to mention that we had a nice chat. I’m blanking on her name, but she was another member of one of Jef’s plein air groups — perhaps the same one that you were a member of (my memory is, as usual, spacy). Will you be doing more of Jef’s classes this spring? I decided that if I did so it would simply be to put off doing other work that had to be done. So I stopped myself from enrolling. But I was tempted!


  2. Judy Shaw says:

    June, I think the bush you identify as boxwood is actually Skimmia–they rapidly out pace boxwood in width, but not height. It tolerates cutting back quite nicely. Thanks for giving us hope for spring. Your observations are spot-on!


  3. June says:

    Cynthia –snort–
    Painting the floor really requires some kind of shove — perhaps the muse is insufficient. Guilt helps. Inability to stand my environment is even better. Anyway, I got there, sort of, after I finished taking the photos. By “sort of” I mean I painted another patch. Doing it in patches may be a way of overcoming the lost muse.


  4. “Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work.” ~ Chuck Close



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