The flowers that bloom in the spring

“Those flowers breathe promise of merry sunshine as we merrily dance and we sing. We welcome the hope that they bring of a summer of roses and wine.”

I’m always grateful to Gilbert and Sullivan for providing extra inspiration. Let me add, as do they, “Tra la!”

I welcome the sung-about sunshine as I do those lovely flowers and certainly do not want to overlook the birds returning in abundance to cheer me with their sweet songs. I can tell you that I am most ready for those roses and wine.

With snow still falling as I write (Hello, Snowstorm Stella!), I once again reach for old photographs to coax the good memories awake. The first is a prize I’ve treasured ever since it was taken, while being unable up till now to find a reason for sharing.

I don’t especially associate spring with the color yellow (why do I think first of pink?) but have in my hand a photograph of a goldfinch. Sitting in the larch just beyond my window, this little bird is already wearing its most brilliant Easter yellow. It’s ready to celebrate the season — only the tree in which he has perched is heavily smothered with the purest of newly fallen snow. It is a sunny day and, being April after all, I’ll presume this snow didn’t last too long.

The goldfinch molted last fall and was given a lackluster robe to keep him covered through the coldest months. Now that has been sloughed off and he’s ready for the warmer days. (Aren’t we all?)

I also welcome no early flowering plant more than I do the lovely forsythia. (Even its name sounds feminine and demure.) Who of us is not familiar with the deeply four-lobed bright yellow flowers that appear before their leaves?

Neighbors in Warren way-back-when planted a row of these treats for me in front of my last house there. Once well-situated here in Cassadaga, a number of the bushes were removed and transplanted by the same accommodating friends. Any qualms I might have felt about stealing greenery (for they made a high pleasant hedge once the flowers were gone) disappeared quickly when, on a later return to town, I discovered all those left had been dug up and removed.

Sadly, last year an overly enthusiastic yard helper pretty much destroyed the shrubs. All I find this spring is dead wood with very few live branches. I know many like to cut these prematurely for they will flower indoors, a harbinger of all the good things to come. I’ve done it myself. A close friend described her joy at watching them open last February. I double-checked mine but found so few tips with enough life to be safe to cut that I figured they’d do better staying on the plants. Then again, if I could cut and root them once the flowers have fallen, perhaps I could propagate new and better bushes. It’s a thought for I would be terribly bereft to see these completely gone.

The picture I hold now of my earlier forsythia in all its glory serves as a reminder that hopes — and, with it, success — are always possible, especially in the spring.

The grass around the plants has greened and is dotted in dandelions. Some of the neighboring bushes (overgrown weeds) are sprouting the beginnings of their leaves though the trees remain bare (except for the evergreens of course). It’s the promises, not the fulfillments, that bring me joy at this season for the forsythia, stretching taller (back then) than I, is in full bloom. Flowering branches spread out unencumbered — toward the sky of course but also off to every side all the way back down to the ground. (No, I’ve never been one to trim this shrub, preferring whenever possible to allow things to grow and prosper as nature intended.)

I plan to keep a close watch as the weeks roll by, hoping to see even more signs of rebirth on these plants.

Even if it isn’t spring, we should all live like it is.

Susan Crossett has lived outside Cassadaga for more than 20 years. A lifetime of writing led to these columns as well as two novels. “Her Reason for Being” was published in 2008 with “Love in Three Acts” following in 2014. Information on all the Musings, her books and the author may be found at