When one opens the heart for it and grows keenness in eyes, winter can offer unexpected portals to new perspectives and show the world otherwise hidden. Then, there is no need to let the short month of February pass in an uninspired way, as merely a mandatory bridge that one needs to cross – just in order to reach the sights and sounds of March on the other side.
Most of us look forward to the exhilaration of plants, trees, and flowers blooming with gorgeousness and wonder why do we have to live through the desolate months of cold before that can happen? As a matter of fact, we must thank the parting winter for that coveted first glimpse of spring that we so fondly look forward to. Because, there are many plants & flowers that would simply not thrive, blossom, or look their best when spring comes if they haven’t passed through the severity of winter.
The source of this insight is a splendid botany term I just learned – Vernalization. Vernal comes from Latin word vernus – ‘of the spring’, from ver – ‘spring’.
Vernalization – according to Oxford’s definition, is the cooling of seed during germination in order to accelerate flowering when it is planted. It is the cold period where specific plants go dormant and must be exposed to a certain number of days with minimum temperatures or they will simply fail to flower!
Nature. She has a fine, meticulous and just right use of every tiny thing that belongs to her. Every stagnant moment of a bleak, chilly day, every tiny snowflake, every gentle ray of the first warm light of the year – goes in the making of that luscious vernal field that appear in front of us all of a sudden, as if out of nowhere. That nowhere, would be winter.
This behind the curtain, quiet transition from winter resulting into the tender, gingerly acts of renewal by Spring that manifest to us as sudden and magical transformation of the landscape around us – was captured singularly by American poet E. E. Cummings (1894 -1962) in this nuanced verbal painting of a poem:
Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand
Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere)arranging
a window, into which people look(while
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here)and
Article ©2021 Gyaneshwari Dave
Excerpt of “Spring Is Like A Perhaps Hand” by E. E. Cummings,
From E. E. Cummings: Complete Poems, 1904–1962 (Liveright),
© 1991 by the Trustees for the E. E. Cummings Trust, © 1976 by George J. Firmage.