February gave a taste of simple, sweet, slow living, yet it broke all the rules. Warm, sunny days awoke the garden, setting off a premature blooming season. As I walked around the yard, white petals broke loose from the spirea and rose into the wind. Life was stirring in the butterfly bushes, too, dotting the branches with round green leaves--last year they hadn't sprouted until the end of April.
Old timers warned against the balmy weather, and sure enough, the mercury will plunge tonight, bringing frost and trouble.
"Put old sheets on your buttercups," Mother said. "Maybe you can save them."
"Buttercups?" Bandwidth asked, his forehead puckered. His gaze moved around the dining table, stopping at the plastic tub of margarine. Did Nanny mean for him to cover the butter with a sheet?
"No, honey, buttercups are an old-timey name for daffodils," she said.
Mother just celebrated her 89th birthday, and she spent a lifetime protecting her flowers.
"Learn the rhythms and cycles of your garden," she said. "Keep a journal."
Me, I hadn't trusted February. I knew winter was coming (again), as if I'd grown up in Winterfell, a member of House Stark. My husband agreed. Like a squirrel gathering nuts, he collected old sheets and stacked them in the wheelbarrow.
I am my mother's daughter. This afternoon, you'll find me outside, tossing sheets over the butterfly bushes and buttercups, knowing that a thin piece of cotton stands between endings and beginnings.