Springtime in the Cascades

Spring, fashionably late as usual, reveals that it has been here all along, working its magic under the veil of bad weather. A trio of deer, two does heavy with fawn and a young buck, amble across our property. Twice, I’ve spotted them browsing on the leaves of low hanging branches. On other mornings, their tracks left a trail in my garden. Thus far, they have not stooped to nibble the vegetables.

Just about to burst!
Just about to burst!

More evidence may be found in my flowerbeds. A multitude of irises massing along one border are suddenly pregnant with blooms. I’d begun to think they’d given up. The plant takes its name from the Greek word for rainbow due to their numerous color combinations. Though mine are all of a kind, a smokey lavender, upon closer inspection subtle cream and yellow markings adorn the delicate petals, not to mention the deep green of the stalks and leaves.

The season’s late arrival can be a nuisance. Recently, the roar of orchard fans awakened me at 3:30 am, an alert for temperatures below freezing. I urged myself out of bed. The tomatoes needed protection. I’d already risked the lives of several plants, which succumbed to a late frost. I was not going to fail their replacements.

Upon first arising, I go slowly. The peripheral neuropathy in my feet feels like someone wadded tissue in my socks. The numbness subsides with movement giving me encouragement the condition may someday resolve. Toxic neuropathy, however, seems averse to most remedies. I’ve yet to find anyone with multiple myeloma whose treatment induced neuropathy corrected itself, but hope junkies don’t let reality get in the way of their daydreams.

Outside, I found my bearings in the dark. I’ve lived here 30+ years. The familiar silhouettes of porch railings and trees act as my guide dogs. Since my children are long gone from the house I needn’t worry about a stray toy barking in protest; the path to the sprinkler is free of obstacles. Back inside, I napped on the couch for a couple of hours. The fan’s steady drone continued but my intervention had saved the tomatoes from the cold.

Bruce was a draft horse in a previous lifetime

Over Memorial weekend, both of my sons visited. Noah had arrived from Berkeley in need of R & R after law school finals and prior to beginning a summer internship in Portland. Our younger son, Isaac, lives nearby. He took an afternoon off from his work as a ski videographer. They’d been filming atop the Palmer Glacier on Mt. Hood. Together with Ike’s dogs, Bruce and Toby, we circled the orchards near our house, retracing the route I walked when recovering from my stem cell transplant.

The air brimmed with the promise of endless sunshine and birdsong. Though bad weather still brags about its ferocity, trying to intimidate me with frost, the warming earth no longer listens. Before long, fawns will forage alongside their mothers and the gaudy flags of my irises will commemorate spring’s return, swaying atop their sturdy stalks in defiance of the last blustering gasps of winter.

4 thoughts on “Springtime in the Cascades

  1. Dear Hope Junkie,
    Here’s a fix for you: my neuropathy has improved by 90% or so. My doc recommended up to 1500mg of magnesium; I’ve been taking 500mg morning and evening. Good luck.
    The Coot


  2. That is true gardening dedication! My husband has been getting up at 5am to chase rabbits and deer from my veg patch but 3.30am?! No chance! And snap! My son is called Noah too!


  3. Hello John,

    I am so happy to hear that spring is creeping its way into Oregon. Greg and I hope to visit the Smith residence when we return to Hood River in late June. Take care and we’ll see you soon! “Hello” to Mar and Buckwheat.


  4. Your description makes me long for variation in the weather. As the old complaint goes, here in Mexico it’s just one damn beautiful day after the next. Hope we’ll get to eat some of those tomatoes in August.


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