My cherry tree, and the St John's Wort growing back fast

What a difference a year makes. I get to really enjoy spring this year

A year ago I was wrapping up a month on the Central and Southern Oregon Coast, wherein a few days in Crescent City caused me to realize that I had put a for-sale sign on my dream home.

That of course led me to make some immediate changes to my impetuous and not-very-thoughtful plans to move overseas, at the time Colombia, even if it would have been cheaper. There followed lots more work on this body, surgeries and recovery and the like. This year, without the looming sense of picking up everything and moving again, the perfect first few weeks of spring really are...perfect.

Here's what I mean. This is my fourth year here. Finally there are some corners turned- the big water mitigation projects are two small but significant details away from completed after months and months of mess and muddle.

My handyman is now painting my basement, which means that the truly awful colors of a child's bedroom have been transformed and slowly, book shelves and books are making their way into those rooms, along with the newly-unwrapped decorative items that have been living in boxes since July of 2022.

I get a new roof soon, and there are other big projects in line this year, all of which remake this place in the image I want. I'm no longer just passing through, at least for now, and never say never, right?

But the real news is outside. My south-facing bedroom window opens out to my garden, such as it is. A camellia dominates that window, and just a few days ago the first fat blooms appeared. They explode into pink wonderfulness, then plop like pink parachutes into the ground cover below.

I can really enjoy this. F0r 0nce.

My yard is a miracle. Rhododendrons flower all year, but right about now there are new blooms on all the rhodies. As I walk the animal trail looking for invasive weeds, I am treated to all kinds of flowers:

No idea what this is, but it's a creeping ground cover
Vinca everywhere!

I particularly love these bushes, two more of which are to be planted so that I have more privacy on the south side of the house where I lost a big fir not long ago:

Japanese Pieris all over my yard

This Pieris has the lovely habit of sending out new growth in bright red leaves:

new growth

So the yard is full of color right now, as well as birds. I've got multiple suet containers and birdseed, so that every morning it's a free-for-all. I particularly enjoy watching mating pairs of woodpeckers bring their young to the suet, and the annual return of the growing family of robins coming back to wash off the ground dirt in my bird bath.

A walk around my little piece of paradise right now reveals so much life:

No clue. Is that a name for a flower?

One of my favorite harbingers of spring when I lived at my last house in Denver was the peony explosion. Every year I was treated to a collection of big fat blossoms not unlike the camellias, but with a particular shape and exuberance.

I miss them, but I don't miss Denver.

Last spring I couldn't walk my garden. My right foot had surgery, I couldn't do much more than watch the yard from inside.

It was still gorgeous, but it's not like being in it. Getting my fingernails full of mud, pulling out weeds, measuring how much the cedar grew this past year, watch the ajuga get ready to send up the bright purple announcements to the world.

For that matter, watching the few plugs of ajuga take over entire hillsides, which not only means that gorgeous green-blue variegated leaf color but an army of purple in all directions. Bee heaven.

This year, with no boots, no scooters, no braces or walker or walking stick or crutches, I am free to wander, weed, and be filled with wonder. My feet aren't healed, and they still hurt, but that hardly keeps me out off my land.

The bleeding hearts aren't out yet, but the leaves are creeping out from under the hedges as the sunshine invites them, increasingly dappled as the Japanese maples are leafing out. Speaking of which, the bright red spindly branches are full of green leaves as the sun spends more time warming them.

Wait, I lied. They're here:

The first ones....

I'm unwrapping bits of my travel life as the world unwraps its sleeping life, and begins to slow it down for months of sleep below the equator.

There have been times I have wanted badly to not be alive. I suspect many of us have felt that way at one point or another. It's part of life to at times feel that it's not worth it.

This isn't one of them. I hope to never have those feelings again, but that isn't always the case. What is the case is that I get to enjoy the moment I am in, which is deeply celebratory.

Another (no clue) I misplaced their labels but boy are these pretty.

I know some of you are dealing with huge, emotional issues. I know some of you are facing big losses in your own ways. I also know that you've been kind enough to offer me words and solace and comfort during the last two years. Many have been quick to celebrate the small, then bigger, then big steps as corners get turned, and laugh with me when another bowling ball hits me in the proverbial knees.

It's all just life. I am slowly learning to love where and how I am, not just in the literal sense but in life's sense. There will be a time when I may look back and recall this as a much easier time. True or not, it's often what we do. What I hope I remember is the celebration of life- not just in spring, but every single day.

I am immensely fortunate to have you as readers, to have your comments, and to have had your kind support during what's been an interesting time. It will always be interesting. These days, it gets to be interesting while I am upright, and walking through my garden instead of staring out at it.

Happy spring to all, and autumn Down Under.

low angle photo of cherry blossoms tree
Photo by Arno Smit / Unsplash

Dear Walkabout Saga Reader:

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