Lupines in the Snow

Can we take anything for granted anymore? A couple weeks ago we were buried in ten inches of snow. After the apocalyptic winter of pestilence, politics and deadly riots, any degree of confidence that spring will come again strikes me as foolish; we should put that dangerous Sound-of-Music cliché out of its misery. The world could shift on its axis this afternoon, and there we’d be, with the cockroaches and horsetails, trying to adapt.

Nevertheless, some lupines (Big-leaf Lupine/Lupinus polyphyllus), sheltered from snow by a tiny table, caught my eye. Despite the cold they were already growing, opening their leaves. I realized that a few inches away, still deep under snow, more lupines were lifting their leaves, pushing back against the weight of winter. The lupines know light. Days lengthen, sunlight strengthens; spring is coming. Sure enough.

Spring is a gift from the universe, from the sun, a side effect of the laws of nature that keep us in orbit, that keep our blue planet spinning. Our histories and memories melt away and dribble into the duff, revealing lupines, more lupines, and the small round leaves of shooting-star (Broad-leaved Shootingstar/Dodecatheon hendersonii), which—now I’m remembering a piece of reassuring history—were but green tips emerging before the snow fell.

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