Winter seems at last to have given in regarding its long battle to deter Spring. An unexpected late frost damaged tomatoes and impatiens enough to delay blooming but all survived even if near the ground level. During the exceptionally cold Winter, the Azaleas planted in the front a year ago were frozen completely except for a few shoots coming from the roots. Only a handful of blossoms appeared. Needless to say, Spring planting of flowers and vegetables is behind schedule.

As headlines in the news report, this area and the entire Midwest has suffered record rainfall throughout the Winter and early Spring. Flooding is everywhere and the major rivers are setting record flood stages; many very large crop fields look like lakes. Instead of an emerging Spring, mariner’s home town suffered endless weeks of a weather pattern that hung around the freezing point, snowing at night and turning to rain during the day.

Mariner is old enough that reengaging the labors of gardening after Winter layoff takes a while. Between the rain, grass growing like there’s no tomorrow and a water table high enough that one’s boots splash when walking on the lawn, it will be awhile before the grounds look kempt.

Mariner’s daughter gifted him and his wife with a fancy Cherry tree. Sitting next to a large crabapple tree that blooms rambunctiously, that end of mariner’s home should be quite a display. Mariner also set out his potted Oleander, Amaryllis and the cactus collection from the Sonoran Dessert.

So, all is happy again in mariner’s hometown – especially for the lawn Nazis whose lawnmowers, blowers, lawn trimmers, tillers and power washers are incessant and drowned out only by the cars racing on the dirt track at the fairgrounds. When mariner first drove into his town in 1964, he said, ‘This is a town of lawns.’ And it is. The Town Council passed ordinances requiring lawns not to be too long and the property must appear well maintained.

Nevertheless, it’s nice to walk outside without bundling up and to hear a living world from hummingbirds to riding mowers to stock cars.

Ancient Mariner


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