The day is overcast now but the weather service promises that it will be clear and warm. The yard is speckled with bright color amidst the moss, bare ground, and the grass, already tall enough for another mowing. Bold yellow dandelion heads have popped up all around, while tiny blue or purple dots on low-growing clusters of leaves decorate the gaps between stepping stones and merge with the grass growing up the hill on the east side of the house. We have not yet identified these flowers. But mixed throughout are small faces, purple or white, that I recognize and happily welcome.
Violets seemed to be everywhere when I was a child. In the spring every untilled field, every lawn, suddenly became a carpet of blue with specks of white. It was part of the circle of the year, as important to me as the snow of winter, the corn of August, and the fallen leaves of autumn. I didn’t realize how important this piece of the circle was to me until I had gone away and did not see the violets for a while. Carefully scheduled trips back to my home town eased the loss for a time, but eventually I moved too far away and the violets seemed to disappear. Spring seemed diminished somehow.
This fall, when we walked the grounds of this new-to-us house, I was convinced that I saw violet leaves. But in the early spring the plants that appeared first were clearly something else. The leaves looked similar, but their edges showed small serrations, unlike the edges of violet leaves. And I decided that in the fall I had been deceived by my eagerness.
But the season has progressed, violets are up and in flower, and spring has clearly arrived.