I forgot…

…what colour tulips I planted in these tubs last October. Forgot — and then yesterday, coming up the stairs to the west-facing deck, there they were, in bloom.


The hummingbirds have discovered them too, pausing over the open ones, and darting in, then out, a blur of wings. It happens at once, it seems. Spring, I mean. Up the mountain yesterday, the flowering currant out, the robins and warblers singing, hummingbirds, a red-tailed hawk rising up from a boggy area under some alders and scolding us for disturbing its courtship. On Friday, it was so warm and summery that the snakes were out in great numbers, come from their hidden winter places under the rocks, sunning themselves on dry moss, or else curled up together in the old familiar routine. I thought of Stanley Kunitz’s poem, “Touch Me”, and its lines,

What makes the engine go?

Desire, desire, desire.

The longing for the dance

stirs in the buried life.

One season only,

                                and it’s done.

faces, opening to the light

I can only grow tulips in pots on my decks. The deer inhale them otherwise, eating the succulent leaves as they emerge from the ground. Many years ago, when our dog Lily was still alive, deer never ventured near our house and I recall tulips in many areas of the garden then. Now they don’t even bother trying. Some days, looking out the window over the kitchen sink, I see deer on the patio, nosing around to see if there’s anything to eat. Roses? Lilies? What about a tendril of clematis? It might be time to bring home another dog.

Yesterday I noticed the tulips in this pot beginning to open so I moved the pot into the light. It had been tucked against the east wall, under the shade of cotoneater. Within a couple of hours, the flowers had opened so beautifully that I caught my breath, coming up the stairs to see them.