tulips-in-snowThere are a dozen tulips in vibrant hues of spring sitting on my table.

Snow is forecast for tomorrow, but I give it no credibility or staying power. How could it stay at the beginning of March? It’s blowing at us with one more arctic push to remind us of the cold we’ve endured and the visual purity it held.

Oh, but the tulips. The tulips speak with a different voice. Theirs is full of hope, promise and birth. They hold visions of soil wanting to be turned, skin-warmed faces and doors that swing unlatched and open.

I send my mother tulips in the spring. Tulips and pansies comfort her.

I sent my younger sister tulips when she finished her masters degree in library science at the age of fifty-eight. Her thank you photo still smiles from my refrigerator. She is radiant in a dark green shirt, purple apron and curly brown hair. The vase is tenderly held in her motherly hands, as tulips burst open in yellows, reds and orange.

Tulips have no pretense. They are a rainbow made tangible, a kaleidoscope of color, a lover’s whisper. They turn my thoughts to the garden, but I won’t plant this year. The soil is better suited to brick making than food. The deer beat me to the tender sprouts of spinach and lettuce I sneak in the earth, and I have no heart to fence, so there you have it. This spring, I will sit on the deck and write and listen to the birds, then move under the cedar trees to nap in the hammock.

Our sleds are still propped outside the door as I imagine this promise of warmth. It’s time to put them in the barn, and make room for planters and outdoor grilling. The tulips on the table arch toward the earth, opening and unfolding as I long to unfold myself into the welcome arms of spring.

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