Buddha’s Birthday, and Waiting for Summer to Arrive

This weekend, starting Friday, we celebrated Hanamatsuri, which is the day Japanese Buddhists celebrate the Buddha’s birthday. It’s also called the Flower Festival. At our home, we placed a large spring of beautiful pink orchids at our indoor shrine, and kept a candle going for three days. 

Another beautiful Hanamatsuri ritual is to bathe a small figure of the baby Buddha in tea. In Japan, cherry blossoms are in full bloom this time of year, and cherry blossom trees proliferate around Buddhist temples in Japan, so it’s a gorgeous Buddhist holiday. It’s said that the Buddha was born in a grove of flowering trees.

We’re having a very cold spring here in Connecticut. Freezing nights almost consistently, lots of cold rain, and snow a week ago. Like myself, there are a lot of gardeners walking around with pouty faces. I’ve been struggling to keep the greens bed going, but there has been some frost burn, and some crops lost. 

The poppy and lily tubers I started in pots are not thriving, the potted parsley is frost damaged, and the pansies are pretty much dead. I bought a lavender plant last week, and it’s been living in the kitchen, which it doesn’t like. Since it’s rising into the mid-50s, today (April 11), I put it outside. But I’ll have to bring it in again tonight. I’m getting tired of hauling plants in and out. This in-out cycle is not good for any kind of outdoor plant, and fungus flies take hold when a plant that is meant to be outdoors is kept indoors. This growing season has gotten off to a flying standstill.

On a better note, my husband and I passed the state CPWO/boater safety/jetski licensure test and got our boating licenses this weekend. We took the boat out for the first time yesterday! It was lots of fun. It was also cold. We cruised around the local lake for a couple of hours to practice operating the boat. We were both dreaming of summer days, in the boat, on the ocean. Soon, soon.

Weather aside, I’ll be starting Italian green bean and Japanese cucumber seeds this week. Unless May proves to be as much of a washout as April, the seedlings should be in the ground by mid-month. And I’m planting Crimson Sweet watermelon after all. Not in the food garden, though. I’m going to try it in a jumbo pot and trellis it across the deck. This should be interesting.

One way or another, summer will arrive. Hot, sunny days, evening thunderstorms, the ocean, sand and seashells, swimming dogs, baby birds, prayer flags floating in the wind, crickets singing, bicycling, barefoot hiking, peaches on the trees, paper cups of lemon ice, riots of food and flowers in the gardens, and warm, tanned skin and bleached hair.

But for now, I only have this moment. During all eternity, there is nothing before, and nothing after. I just open my eyes and exist.


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