A Fresh Start

The official New Year was days ago, I know, but it didn’t really feel like I had turned the page until this morning. Monday morning: a new list for the week, facing forward after the weekend, time to take stock. First, look out the window and notice that it has stopped raining! We’re in the middle of one of those weather “rivers” that pours water out of the sky and feels like a permanent geographical fixture; you can’t imagine how it will ever stop. But somehow the sky is less pulled down on the treetops and roofs and there is a visible smudge of light in the sky that must be the sun. No time to hesitate! Go outside!

Looking up, the first thing I see is an eagle slowly passing over the neighborhood, barely tipping its wings and intent on surveying the possibilities. And in the same frame of vision, I see a vivid-pink flash of a hummingbird. The definition of “bird” stretches almost to breaking point to encompass these two! Besides the cessation of rain, I am counting this twin sighting as my #1 Wonder of the Day.

And instantly know that instead of New Year’s resolutions—you know, lose those extra pounds, be more organized, and clean out a few drawers—I’m going to collect Wonders; make that a minimum of three a day. It’s a wake-up call from winter hibernation or Covid-induced fog. I feel better already.

There are several ways to discover Wonders. Some present themselves like the eagle and hummingbird. For my next Wonder I only had to follow my nose. We have a bush in our side yard that blooms in winter; if anyone can identify it, please do. It has the freshest sweet-but-not-too-sweet scent from tiny white flowers that just gladdens my heart on these dark days. I stand in front of it and breathe in the scent and feel that spring cannot be lost no matter what the date. I have Wonder #2.

You can almost smell the flowers by looking at them…..
The mystery bush that signals spring

And I have a theme: What other signs of early spring can I find? Soggy brown leaves litter the ground and bits of fallen branches from the windstorm nearly hide my next find. There is a tiny, slightly battered, but bravely pushing upward primrose whose pink catches me eye. It’s very modest but not at all prosaic. I’m counting it as #3 for the lift it gives my mood.

Easy to miss

I see green shoots pushing up here and there, probably the bluebells that will take over my garden later, but perhaps because they are so prolific they don’t quite feel like a bona fide Wonder to me today. Ah, but what’s this? Again a pink color draws me to peer more carefully in the clutter of last-year’s leaves. This seems incredibly early, but some of my strawberry plants are in flower! Very pink, indeed. Spring is more than a wish; it feels like a promise kept. Strawberry plants blooming in January is a Wonder, a bonus, #4. Everything is going to be okay.

The pink among the scattered leaves of fall.

14 thoughts on “A Fresh Start

  1. Hello! I think that fragrant evergreen shrub you picture is Sarcacoca, or sweet box. It blooms in winter! Cheers, Cindy Cooper



  2. Saw blooming pink camilia’s yesterday!!

    And at Lincoln school, a vocalist, an acoustic guitarist and a base player were recording a lovely version of “you can get if you really want it” using the acoustic properties of an entrance.


  3. Today is so dark with rain it’s good to remember that from rain comes flowers!

    Your chance encounter with musicians spreading cheer is another reminder to go outside; you just never know!


  4. Aye mateys, I be with you on the sweet box. I have it in me back yard and when it be in full bloom I can smell it soon’s I step out the door. AND I be hearing a froggy in Trillium Park yesterday. AND today be National Bird Day. Least that’s what one of me calendars sez. Hope for the future!!!


  5. Anne I appreciate your good cheer and up beat comments about the garden. I have not ventured out to my garden much although I did see some bulbs starting to push through two days ago. Yes, these are the darkest days, and we will make it through. Next stop, spring!


    1. Going outside helps me balance the isolation of the pandemic. I feel more connected, the world feels a little bigger, the air worth tasting. Talking to the cat only goes so far!


  6. Considering how much rain we have gotten since 2021 started, you have really found good wonders to celebrate. It helps that the days are getting longer and the buds are getting more swollen. Spring is just around the corner!


    1. Even though I have lived in the Northwest for decades I still find spring in January astounding. I know we can still get some winter blasts of snow and ice….but meanwhile….stepping outside and exploring is a revelation.


  7. Maybe we can start a movement! Rachel Carson wrote a whole book on Wonder. She considered it the foundation for all environmental action. To me, wonder and love are closely related; you can’t go too far wrong beginning there.


  8. Counting wonders seems a much better remedy for Covid fog than New Year’s resolutions. I’m a little late, but I’m starting today! Thanks for the suggestion.


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