“There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” – Rachel Carson
Even though we may not feel it right now, spring is coming and along with it the promise of warmer days, with bounteous harvests and, hopefully, joyful gatherings that will fill our hearts. A walk in the woods will reveal tiny clues that the seasons are changing. One of the earliest flowering trees, the maple, comes into bloom this time of year. Its small, red blossoms tell us there is change in the air. Thus we begin our story with how maple syrup came to the Lenape people, the first inhabitants of this area.
When flowers appear, so will our native pollinators. They awaken from the sheltering, hollow stems and soil burrows where they have hibernated through the winter. We can help these small creatures flourish right in our own backyards by continuing the work we began back in the autumn, when we left them shelter in our gardens. There is great hope in providing for another generation.
We can begin to dream of our gardens as well. Preparing for the changing season calls on us to evaluate and make plans. Now is the time to get in the berry patch for winter maintenance. It’s also time to review our vegetable garden dreams and make them come true by starting the seed growing process. These are small steps we can take now to ensure the promise of a thriving and healthy garden. Before we know it, we will have lush veggies ready for harvest. Even with a small vegetable garden, you can begin to build and feed a community.
It may feel like a small start now, but with patience and hope the vegetables will grow. The trees in the forest will flower, and the humming of bees and color of butterflies will fill the gardens. That cycle of hope and patience has been part of the story of Tyler since the very beginning, and so has a sense of community. The Minshall family set sail to William Penn’s colony in May, 1682 on a ship called Friendship. With their family and neighbors from England, they came to seek a new life and planted the seeds of hope. They worked to tend it, to grow and support their community, and to maintain the land until 1946 when it opened again as the Tyler Arboretum. What they left us is a place that reflects their hope, their work and their dreams. We continue to build upon this, carefully making our way during a pandemic.
“A seed neither fears light nor darkness, but uses both to grow.” – Matshona Dhliwayo