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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Climate Change and Tradition…

ring and runA new year, but the same sad, old story. May Day and the traditional May basket brims with spring color, none of which, however, came from the backyard or Valley flowers. I have no idea where they came from—you would have to ask the local florist. The May basket is homemade (our household’s seasonal “celebratory” basket ) and should be filled with local, homegrown flowers. Years ago, if memory serves, I used to fill a May basket from the yard landscape. One such basket I remember arranging (in a style I’d term amateurish at best and clumsy at worst) trailed bleeding hearts, pink iridescent azaleas, bell-like Solomon’s tears, a dark, red rhody floret, and white and lavender lilacs, all floral bounty from our yard. These I intermingled with delicate ferns (whose pale green fronds shriveled in a half hour). If I were to use those resources this May Day, my May basket would be all buds, stems, and leaves…plenty of monochrome color. (Well, everything is green this time of year, isn’t it?) Rhodies are still swollen buds; lilacs, just beginning to unfold; Solomon’s tears are just starting to well; azaleas are at the pink bud stage; daffodils and crocus are bloomed out; the ferns…I learned my lesson with them.

On Monday, April 29, we returned from eastern Washington over Stevens Pass and drove through a series of whiteout snow squalls before we dropped below snow level. Traction tires were recommended over Snoqualmie Pass, which was periodically closed due to hazardous driving conditions. The mountain passes have a history of spring snowfalls, I know, but April 29? That’s a month and a half into spring!

Whether or not you can fill a May basket on May Day is hardly scientific evidence the climate is changing. Foraging one’s landscape for blossoms and not finding them doesn’t point to fluorocarbons perforating the ozone layer. An empty May basket isn’t proof the polar ice caps are melting and the seas rising.just dandy  But something has shifted; spring has somehow been deferred the past few years and the blossoms hold back on May Day. Yet again it’s a visit to the florist’s this year. I could fill a May basket with dandelions, I suppose; there are plenty of them in bloom. Their sunny little faces are cheery enough, but stuffing a basket full of weeds and leaving it on the doorstep seems more like a prank than an act of endearment.The May...brought inside

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