Hope, Freezing Weather, and the Heart in Winter

 

Roses from my garden, in the middle of freezing weather.  Photo copyrighted by Lorna Tedder.

(written 1/22/09 –published in honor of Imbolc)

 I’ve been told there’s a huge blessing coming for me in the Winter. Well, I’d say Winter’s here and I have a wild sense of anticipation.

This is the coldest Winter I’ve experienced in the 24 years I’ve lived in Florida.  Today is the third straight day the temps have hovered in the 20’s, and I finally gave up on my flowers.  You see, usually the temperatures dip about twice into the 20’s during the entire course of the Florida Winter and that means that once or twice a year, I drag my huge potted plants into the garage and then back out, but just for a single night.  This year, I’ve hauled them in and out half a dozen  different times before the usual quick dip of cold normally takes place—and it’s still January!  After at least 5 or 6 freezing days in the past 10, I finally decided I couldn’t take the repeated migration of plants and just let the cold take my hibiscus pots and tree-sized begonias.

The usual fear is that we won’t have Winter at all.  That’s a problem here in Florida if January and February are too mild because we need at least one hard freeze to kill off the bugs.  I’ve also always believed we needed at least one hard freeze to keep the fruit trees from blooming in February and being killed off by an early March frost. Now, I’m not so sure.   The week after Christmas, temperatures here were beautifully back up in the 70’s for a few days and Spring reasserted itself at the first opportunity, with pine trees spewing yellow-green pollen everywhere and my roses blooming like crazy. 

That’s the thing that strikes me as odd.  No matter how harsh the Winter, the rebirth of Spring still struggles to reassert itself and finally, finally, finally wins out.