I’m ecstatic at the sighting of the first forsythias in spring; beneath them, crocuses and squill raise their heads from the cold earth; the long bare winter is over, there are glimmers of hope that better days lie ahead. The fuzzy catkins of magnolia follow close behind, along with purple redbuds that line up like soldiers on angular umber branches. The waxy podlike buds of the dogwood swell then burst, while white and yellow daffodils teeter dangerously at the tops of long thin stems. Tulips make their appearance. The cherry blossoms arrive, pink and ruffled like little girls petticoats. For two gorgeous weeks, lilacs perfume the air and azaleas blaze into flames of orange, red, fuschia.
Then come the roses; for two weeks beforehand, they raise their heads from arching canes, buds shut tight like closed eyes; and then they disrobe layer by layer, a little breathless with their own abandon, in the muted blush colors of French lingerie.
The Oriental lilies unfurl, spilling forth their silky secrets, and then cheerful purple coneflowers. This is how I know it’s the apex of summer, just before the scale tips and the end begins. The cicadas start their cry around the same time that the black-eyed susans flex their petals. When the blurry pink heads of sedum appear, signifying the waning of another summer, I am seized with all kinds of mysterious and irrevocable longings and regrets. Another year has slipped through my fingers.