Putting a Price on a Dream

Putting a Price on a Dream

I don’t know. Is there something a little “off” about all of this? Do people do this all over the world?

Do people in other countries, for instance, actually pay to park their vehicles and then willingly part with more of their hard-earned cash for the privilege of walking around for hours, listening to one infomercial after another, the way we do when we attend expo events like the West Michigan Home and Garden Show? Do they typically fork over bills in the double digits for a hot dog and a Coke?

No window shopping here. My husband and I were paying just to breathe the air last weekend. And “breathe the air” we did.

The scent of the hyacinth hits me first, with its sweet, lingering fragrance – just enough to awaken my senses to the possibilities of spring.

I think of Easter dresses and baskets of candy whenever I catch a glimpse of this member of the lily family. Its glossy, green leaves remind me of fingers upraised. They seem struck with awe from their ground-level view. It’s as if they exclaim, “Look. Look here: a thing of beauty and a promise of good things to come.” The plant reminds me of all things new and clean and right. Their little bell-shaped heads nod at me, and I nod back. I close my eyes as I take in as deep a breath as my lungs will hold. Ahhh. This was going to be a good experience.

The musky, earthen smell of pine draws me in and welcomes me. I look up to see majestic, needled arms high above my head.

Below I see the azalea bushes in their generous myriad of blooms. Like billowing clouds resting on the ground, their color is startling after a long winter of white, black, brown, and grey. They love the dappled shade and the acidic, well-drained soil that the pines so naturally offer. I can’t help but smile as I think expectantly of my own garden, of my own pines and azaleas – relieved of the weight of the snow and fully revitalized and nourished after a long season of rest – won’t they just burst with color and scent this spring?

I look for my friends, the crocus and the tulip. They must be here somewhere, for we cannot have spring without them.

When it seems that winter will never lose its icy grip, the dainty goblet-shaped crocus pushes through the hardened soil to put on a show of colorful revival. From snow crocuses to giant Dutch crocuses, all just 2 to 4 inches high, the blooms offer a variety in color that stands out against the bleak late-winter landscape. Many have strong perfumes that lure bees out of their hives. All possess a delicate beauty that reminds me to be thankful for the smallest of blessings.

Similar in bloom though much larger in stature, the tulip reminds me of my mother. I don’t know that it was her favorite flower, but it had to have been one of her top five. With bulbs in virtually every color, their heads might be single or double, their shapes varied from simple cups to bowls to goblets to even more complex forms. The softness of the petals reminds me of the softness of her cheeks, the warmth they hold from the springtime sun mimicking the warmth of her steadfast love.

The tulip is the only flower that continues to grow when cut. I know there must be a life lesson in there somewhere, but my attention is quickly drawn to the carpet of narcissus that runs along each side of my path.

The story behind the name is laced with intrigue and sentiment.

In Greek mythology, a woodland nymph named Echo was in love with one named Narcissus. Her love was a secret one, for she could not find her voice in order to tell him. She waited longingly for the object of her affection to recognize and embrace her devotion, but Narcissus spent all of his time admiring his own reflection at the water’s edge.

Echo waited, wasting away until she became nothing but – wait for it – an echo in the distant mountains. It is said that the flower, in its downward tilt, is reminiscent of Narcissus as he sat gazing into the pond. Awww…poor Echo.

I spy the jonquil variety of narcissus with its dark green, round, rush-like leaves. The clusters of fragrant, yellow blossoms make my eyes dance. And there, the daffodil variety with their large, bobbing heads and pencil thin foliage – I love them for their perfection but also for their companionship with my white tulips in my own garden. I look for the paper whites, another very popular clustered narcissus variety known for their ever-powerful fragrance.

And what’s a garden without flowering shrubs? I’m so excited to see my favorites – red twig dogwoods – dotting the landscape. These variegated, broadleaf, deciduous shrubs bring year-round beauty to my garden. Small, white flowers form flat clusters in spring and are quickly succeeded by berries that are almost a translucent white with hints of blue and green. The autumn foliage can pick up hints of rose or gold before they fall for the winter. The shrub is perhaps its most beautiful in the winter, when the red bark gleams in full view, seeming to slash at the drifts of snow beyond. They can grow to heights of eight feet with similar spreads, but I prefer to keep them in four-foot mounds.

I have to remind myself that I’m indoors and that the remnants of winter still linger beyond these walls. Yet the dream of spring has begun to take form, stirring my spirit, causing an expectancy that I could not have gained any other way.

Here, surrounded by the promise of spring, of newness, of hope…suddenly the price of admission doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/horrigans/4443188465/”>horrigans</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>


photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/annahesser/11782314096/”>annahesser</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

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