Amy Roberts: Hope springs eternal
Last Christmas I got a grow light, which is basically a fancy lamp that mimics sunlight and helps plants grow indoors. I asked for one for a few reasons, mainly because my mom insists on having several presents under the tree for everyone to unwrap. Explaining to her that there’s nothing I need or want isn’t an option. And over the years I’ve learned it is far better to provide her with a few practical options. Otherwise, I end up with matching scarves for the dogs.
The grow light made my wish list for another reason too. Admittedly, I’m a little obsessed with my flower gardens. Every year I add to them — replacing plants that didn’t survive the winter, adding more color in some corner of the yard, or trying something new to attract the hummingbirds. Because our growing season is so short, buying mature plants is a must, making this a rather expensive hobby. I’m pretty sure I could drive a new Mercedes for what I put into my backyard every summer. So this winter, I decided I’d try to plant from seeds. With a few dollars in seeds, some dirt, containers nabbed from the Recycle Center, and a gifted grow light, my little botany project has started to bloom. So much so that my neighbors probably think I’m growing pot in my kitchen.
My 6-year-old niece, Addison, visited last week for spring break, and I’m pretty sure watching the plants grow was more exciting than skiing in her mind. Each morning she woke up and measured their height, convinced they’d grown a few inches while we slept. She watered them, named them and created a little magical forest for her Barbie dolls with them. The sunflower and lupine seedlings got more attention than my dogs. When I asked her why she was so excited about the plants, she told me, “Because it’s spring! And flowers grow in the spring! And the birds sing. And the Easter Bunny comes.”
Somehow, I followed that logic.
Sunday was the first official day of spring, or as we call it here in Park City, the 217th day of winter. Despite marking the occasion with a few inches of snow and temps in the 30s, the traditional emotion of spring was in the chilly air — hope.
The season and the emotion are interwoven, almost interchangeable. While the summer doesn’t melt hope, nor does it go dormant in the fall, or freeze in the winter, spring is the time of year when we harvest hope. And this year, it feels like a bumper crop. The vaccine rollout went from poor to promising almost overnight. As of Monday, nearly 83 million Americans had received at least one dose, we’re averaging about 2.5 million shots per day, and if we keep up that pace, it’s estimated roughly 90% of the country will be vaccinated by the end of July. Which will give us a few weeks before winter starts again.
This trajectory is exciting to say the least. Gathering with friends, traveling without restrictions, shaking hands, tossing our masks and rehoming these seedlings from my kitchen into the ground — it all feels so close.
Adding to this “just over the horizon” sense of optimism, soon the natural world will stir from its long, cold slumber, bulbs will poke through the thawing dirt, songbirds will share their joy, wildlife will welcome their offspring, and yes, the Easter Bunny will visit. It is spring, and we are allowed, even expected, to be filled with hope.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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