Sunday in the Park
February 20, 2010
When Sunday dawned with clear blue skies and no wind, it was enough to lift one up — not out of winter, of course, but out of the monochromatic part of the season momentarily. Birds were trying out new songs. You could hear the crocus laughing underneath the snow, knowing that as soon the melt appeared, so would they. It was, in the right outside spot, at the right time of day, downright warm on your face.
I always think of Sylvia Plath this time of year. Nothing says stick your head in the oven quite like weeks on end without sunshine. And, of course, her poem which starts out, "The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here."
Nonetheless, I bought the tulips when they appeared at the grocery. I bought them in two colors and a bunch of pussy willows, too. They are both cheerful and hopeful and they promise that whole rebirth thing that may be 40 days in Christianity from this past Wednesday but is closer to thirty in the pagan method of welcoming seasons.
So the gift of the gardening book was especially well received. A big fat book filled with luscious photographs of wild and carefully manicured plots of ground. Vibrant colors all set off with luminescent green. It made me wonder where those catalogs were in the mail. The ones I really did want. Not all the lovely clothing and fancy housewares ones. No, the not-so-slick pages that list heirloom varieties of both perennials and annuals, that offer vegetable growing for the negligent and clumsy gardener. I’m missing those.
I want to see the photos and drawings of those containers I meant to purchase with the upside-down hanging tomato plants. The copper pot I have coveted for years where you can wrap up your garden hose and hide it from view. The trellises where beans or morning glories can climb. Sweet peas maybe.
Yard furniture with cheerful pillows and quaint side tables. Sheltering umbrellas and mini fire pits. Lights to string along the deck, solar sticks to light the garden path. And herbs. My tiny herb garden to flourish with enough bounty to provide all the flavorful, aromatic requests I make of it for months on end.
Recommended Stories For You
I’ve started to think about long drives with the windows open and the music too loud, right from the radio, not a personal listening device. Of evenings on the porch swing with bare legs pushing me back and forth. And big, fat, sweeping novels with characters I have yet to meet, inviting me into the fabric of their lives in time travels that cross generations and continents. Of clothes that require only one layer between skin and sky. Of bare feet on thick dewy grass.
This is winter in the mountains and I have known it my entire adult life. I welcome it in November and I want it to exit March the second on the dot (with apologies to Camelot). I know better. But this is the restless part.
So time spent down the mountain this week, where Salt Lake City can be as much as 20 degrees warmer this time of year, was like a little vacation. Dinner in a hip, funky restaurant on the West Side. The elegant, powerful, fresh performance by Ballet West of that tired old bird, Swan Lake. Where the ladies dressed in white tutus were so mesmerizing that the grown man sitting next to me, whom I did not know, actually sighed at the end of a pas de deux, and said the words, out loud, "dreamy." I could only smile and nod.
The brocades and feathers and imposing sets were as important as the live music to complete our transport to a place where stories were told without words. And the fog machine worked overtime in each act to make certain the dreamlike state continued through out.
I will find a fat novel, a thoughtful movie, time for friends this week and remember that wasting too much time imagining the future is to squander the gift of the moment. But I will for the next few weeks consider it a prescription for own mental health to keep buying fresh flowers to arrange on Sundays in the Park …
Teri Orr is the director of the Park City Performing Arts Foundation that provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts and the Big Stars Bright Nights Summer Concert Series at Deer Valley. She is also a former editor of The Park Record.