The Loveliest Day Of The Year

My miniature waterfall at the foot of the garden shoots out a steady stream of silvery spray into a small pond ringed with rough boulders and white pebbles, just below a large wooden goose, perched atop a stone ledge above the falls, as if it were nesting. Daffodils poke their heads out throughout the yard in surprising places where I cannot ever remember planting a bulb. Bleeding hearts that emigrated from the neighbour’s yard now surround the base of a small maple tree.

Above the rainbow display of flowers a creamy-white cabbage butterfly flits by like an out-of-control fighter jet trying to stay aloft. It soon lands for a nectar lunch on a large yellow tulip- one of its preferred colours- before lifting off again on another erratic flight. A plump bumblebee, resembling a fully loaded cargo plane, makes frequent stops at chosen destinations as it lumbers onto, and takes off from, several daffodil blossoms. It pays no attention to a scurrying army of ants and other tiny insects crawling amidst the colourful petals.

High above the garden a trio of jet black turkey vultures soar effortlessly in ever-expanding circles, like smooth-sailing glider planes. Their expert flying skills mean that they seldom have to flap their outstretched wings. After many minutes soaring above all they survey, they never seem to become bored with this serene aerial exercise.

My vegetable garden, after a long winter’s rest, shows welcome signs of coming alive. Rows of green onions, beets, lettuce, and spinach, planted nearly three weeks previously, have now all popped their heads up through the soil from underground birth places and struggle to establish themselves. Tiny lettuce seeds, no larger than the head of a pin, have become exact replicas of the parent plant. Larger brown seeds of another species now appear above ground as light green leaves with red veins of the beet plant. Onion bulbs have pierced through the soil with green spikes to let everyone know they are thriving. Pea plants have risen out of the ground and soon will climb the wrought iron fence to support a multitude of pea pods. Chives, whose roots have over-wintered in their dormant stage, now rise above the soil in a thick clump. Dill that has self-seeded itself throughout the garden is now almost three inches high. An infant fern on the edge of the garden, still in its fiddle head stage, struggles through the patio stones into the light of day. Fiddle heads are not a spring delicacy in my house and so it will reach adulthood without fear of being eaten. It is clear that my vegetable garden is off to a promising start.

Elsewhere on my street a profusion of blossoming trees and shrubs grabs people’s attention. Yellow forsythia bushes appear on almost every corner. Magnolia trees are impossible to miss. They balloon outwardly in a global profusion of regal crowns of white or pink blossoms, covering the bare branches of only a few days ago. Here and there the white blossoms of cherry trees and the pink flowers of redbud trees make people stop and stare. Tulips of every description and yellow daffodils flood the neighbourhood lawns and press themselves against the sidewalks as if in urgent need of more space. Thousands of violets cover one lawn, woven seamlessly into an azure carpet of miniature floral blossoms. After a grey, frigid Ontario winter that seemed to have no end, the soothing warmth, vibrant colours, and glorious sunshine has at last returned to give me joy.

Some people may argue that their date of birth is the best day of the year. And for many, it surpasses any other day. Without a doubt, however, they would be hard-pressed to compete with my special day, for May 12 announces to the world that the splendour of springtime has arrived.


The Loveliest Day Of The Year

Dr. James F. McDonald is a retired elementary school principal who lives in Dundas, ON.
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