It was therefore with some surprise that a mere two days after my Winter Nadir post, I found these glorious expressions of life on a walk across my otherwise brown and winter-worn landscape. These brave new sproutlings are, of course, snow crocus (Crocus chrysanthus), otherwise hereafter known to my soul as the gentle gift of a benevolent God. The perfect golden-yellow heads brushed on the reverse with a deep-purple brown have popped up even before the frost-bitten leaves that will sustain their beauty, but up they are, here, there, and increasingly everywhere. Even more uplifting are the orange centers as they open, shining like a beacon of onrushing Spring.
I was sibylline not once, but twice regarding the snow crocus this year. In the past, I had just a few small clumps of these early yellow beauties, probably sown from a $2.00 bag of 5 at a big-box store at some unremembered time. I've always enjoyed them when they appeared, but never felt they were extraordinary. But last summer I somehow knew, 6 months before the onset of winter and then in the midst of scorching drought, I somehow knew that this year I would desperately need to see these foretellers of sunny days and soft rains, more desperately and deeper than previous years. I ordered and planted over 100 of these cute little creatures, concentrating them on a spot where I'd know to look for them in Spring, and massed so that they wouldn't disappear into the sea of brown I currently refer to as a garden. And up they have now come, each individual adding to a display that I hope by next week can be seen from more than a few feet away.
On the arid Kansas prairie, Siberian Squill and daffodils do return in dependable fashion, but they won't bloom for a few weeks yet. Other early bulbs, such as Snowdrops, bloom as annuals or at best short-lived perennials, but fade away and disappear within several years unless carefully pampered. Larger crocus, the Dutch crocus for example, return each year but usually are torn to bits by the winds before I can appreciate them. It is only these little bold explorers that I can count on, that I did count on this year, to pull me from hibernation to life. Although the view out my window still looks as bleak as the picture below, I know now that somewhere, amidst the brown grasses and mulch, life stirs again. Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Snow Crocus.