Walking through the garden after an early morning rain storm I find dark, water-soaked soil beneath the mulch. The dusted, spent days of summer, hot and dry as a prairie, are long forgiven. A break in cloud cover pierces the garden with pale, white intensity. Subtle colors break through the curtains of gray and compete for the attention of anyone willing to notice. A bright blue Picea pungens, ‘Baby Blue Eyes’, sparkles with rain drops clinging to its needles. A golden Cryptomeria japonica, ‘Sekkan-Sugi’ glows in the pale light of a winter sun. Dried, beige blades of Little Blue Stem, Schizachyrium scoparium, sway in unison in the delicate breeze. Birds still hop through this stand, looking for seed.
Charcoal gray clouds begin a slow, lumbering roll towards the garden and threaten its occupants like a bully on a playground. But like so many bullies, the clouds threaten and pose but deliver nothing. Soon, a bright blue line of sharp winter sky pushes through the clouds – defiant and proud to be seen. It is a beautiful sight. Here for only a moment, soon pushed away by thundering clouds, and now rain returns. Cold, deep, persistent rain. It feels raw upon the skin.
Time for me to go inside. Enough rain for one short day. Long and rugged as winter seems, it often ends with a whisper and a sweet scent of promise. And new colors will flower – all in good time.