The Birthday Challenge

With my 56th approaching by week’s end, I thought to throw out a birthday challenge. Can I create a post a day through Friday, limit 300 words or so, each one about Nature or our garden? Of all the topics I blog about, writing about Nature thrills me the most.

Having been born in the spring and raised in Atlanta, I always thought the world celebrated my birthday by bursting into blossom. And while many a birthday up here in the Great Lake State has often been spent wearing snow boots, this year my day has been heralded for nearly two weeks already.

I am grateful for each of you who stops by, leaves a comment or just allows my words to lift your heart or pique your curiosity. I won’t send out a daily notice of a new post. Just know that there will be a nature reflection each day this week. Ready for this week’s 56K Birthday Challenge entry? So am I. Here is the first one.

Forsythia. I sometimes think of it as a garden’s stepchild. Glorious for about two weeks, it fades to a utilitarian green, branches wild and unkempt its taxi-yellow blossoms faded to brown mush upon the earth. Forsythia is a great garden element, but nothing to build a landscape around. And yet this bright golden-yellow shrub is spring’s harbinger, coming into bloom even if there is snow on the ground, waving her blossom-laden branches as if shouting to one and all, “Hey! Wake up, everybody! Spring is here and I AM SHE!”

For all my gentle dissing of this beautiful flowering shrub, there is a nearby stretch of forsythia that is magnificent; I await its return each spring. The shrubs have been sculpted into a nicely-rounded hedge some six feet tall. And it stretches, are you ready?, for almost half a mile. Each year it calls to mind a great golden caterpillar inching its way down the road. The country club on Maple Road that maintains and nurtures this beauty does so from Franklin Road almost to Inkster. I am grateful to whomever the Knollwood deciders are who ensure it is kept up, fertilized, and trimmed so precisely into its signature form. With budgets being savaged everywhere, it is good to know that some expenditures endure for the good of all.

Had the author of Ecclesiastes been writing about forsythia, she surely would have added a coda to her time to plant, time to sow line: there is a time to blossom and a time to fade, a time to appreciate and a time to recall with delight.

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6 thoughts on “The Birthday Challenge

  1. Verne

    Have a wonderful birthday, and this was a great start to your challenge. That row on Maple is magnificent!

    1. Debra

      Thank you, Verne! It’s neat how many people enjoy that long forsythia “caterpillar”!
      Thanks for the bday wishes. 🙂 Debra

  2. Nancy

    There were lots of forsythias planted around the foundation of my parents’ home in Springfield, Delaware County, PA, and your post brought fond memories back to me. Thanks. PS – isn’t the Knollwood forsythia display between Middlebelt and Inkster? opposite Beth Ahm, yes? Martin’s photo is beautiful.

    1. Debra

      OK, I can write but I’m directionally challenged. Yes, it is between
      Inkster and Middlebelt (E to W) for me and Middlebelt and Inkster (W to E) for you!
      Martin and I were heading somewhere and we got out on the side of the
      road and he snapped a few. I will pass along your praise. Thank you!

  3. Kay Osborn

    What a beautiful gift- from you, to us, for your birthday. I will look forward to each day’s post. Is the forsythia caterpillar new? I do not remember it.
    A very Happy Birthday to you – may your day and year be very special.

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