Caught by Surprise

On the way to the kitchen,

two steps past the dining room window,

I pause.

I had barely glanced outside in passing,

having already witnessed the scene of early spring—

hackberries still bare-branched from winter,

the dogwood’s gray limbs holding up leaf buds

like tiny green candle flames,

the rust colored, dried blooms of a rhododendron

that flowered too early and froze back into fall colors.

It was a flash of pink that caught me by surprise.


I step back to the window

for a second look.

A newly planted azalea peers back at me,

low and close to the mulched garden

in my neighbor’s yard.

And very pink.

I wasn’t expecting pink.

Winter was so raw,

so kill-the-plants frigid

that I’ve been intent on discovering what survived.

Bit by bit, life was revealing itself—

Lenten roses in holy white,

daffodils and forsythia in sun-kissed yellow,

violets gowned in deep, regal purple,

Nature’s parade of spring fashion.

Yes, these I knew.

These, I had seen.

But now this fancy, frilly pink azalea

waves in the wind and fairly shouts,

“Look at me!”

And, of course, I do,

marveling at the appearance of this cheeky pink plant

flaunting herself,

loud and bright,

proud in my neighbor’s garden,

and worth a second look.

So of course, I do,

and I will,

again and again

until the whole neighborhood

is alive with spring.

– kh –

Nurture peace, cultivate kindness, and carry the calm.

Nature of the week:

Shadow of the Week:

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Text and photos © 2023 Karyn Henley. All rights reserved.