Violet Day

WQ-Purple violetsWelcome to the Carding Chronicles, short stories and sketches about the small (but growing) town in Vermont that no one can quite find on a map of the Green Mountain State.

Even though it may be hard to find, you can visit Carding any time in my novels, The Road Unsalted, Thieves of Fire, and The Dazzling Uncertainty of Life. The fourth in the series, Coming Up for Air, will be out later this year.

You can subscribe to the Carding Chronicles by clicking the subscribe button on my home page. When you do, my stories will speed from me to you every Thursday without any further effort on your part.

Please share these with your friends, co-workers, and all the family members that you like best. I understand they go great with morning coffee.

Weeding Diary for May 11
by Edie Wolfe

In Vermont, spring knocks on our door with a steady but persistent presence. For me, it begins in late March when I notice that the interior of my car is warm when I open its door to run an errand in the afternoon. In July I’ll be complaining about the heat but in March, I press my back against the seat to soak up all the stray warmth molecules, luxuriating in their welcoming embrace.

Early in April, my dog Nearly and I eat lunch in the sunny spot on my back steps, lifting our faces up to the great golden orb in the sky like two early dandelions while robins and phoebes streak across the backyard carrying building supplies for their nests.

Then May rolls over the calendar like a green carpet. All the grass I thought I’d dug out of the vegetable and flower beds in the fall reappears, thumbing its nose at my efforts. I am reminded of that wonderful quote from the naturalist Hal Borland: “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”

The disobedient grass always makes me wonder why I tolerate this relic of the British gentry. While I appreciate a grassy path as much as the next person, when you spread the stuff out in a lawn, it’s a downright nuisance. Why do we do it?

I suppose that’s why I enjoy the even greater persistence of stuff like dandelions, creeping Charlie, tiny wild strawberries, moss and violets.

Especially violets.

There are nearly 600 varieties in the family Violaceae of which my favorite is a purple beauty with a small white beard that pops up around my front steps on the first of May. It is an old and dear friend.

It’s the first violet to dot my lawn, its color complementing the vivid deep green of new grass. White and then blue violets follow quickly. I gather them in small bunches while enjoying my first cup of tea in the morning, bringing them into the kitchen in small glass vases .

Yes, I know, I know. My friend Ruth lectures me all the time about removing violets as soon as they appear because later on in the season, I’ll have to dig them out of my flower beds because they crowd out everything else. But I just smile and nod politely at Ruth’s annual agitation. It is an old and dear argument, weed vs. flower.

She insists on regimentation in her gardens—tulips here, zinnias there, foxglove here and no place else. I often remark on the amount of time she spends trying to make her plants behave. To me, “weeds” are so much easier. They bring us delight without effort.

So I let the purple Violaceae have their days in spring, holding back from mowing as long as I can. I find lawns without violets quite boring, don’t you?

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