At last, the leaves are out, and spring has really arrived in our fair city.
Lilacs! <<she sneezes.>>
The "ruelles vertes" (green alleyways) are finally "vertes."
Apple blossoms and tulips are finally softening the lines of even the most urban facades.
And last weekend the plants moved out to the terrace. What a relief to feel outdoors and indoors breathing together again.
I'm not as happy about my community garden this year. Several of my friends have left, and a number of the gardens are being converted to high raised beds for vegetables - the soil is contaminated with heavy metals from industrial use long ago, so when I joined, everyone was growing flowers, and there was a consensus among most of us to create a place of beauty together. But the big demand in the city is for vegetable garden plots, and I guess people got wind of the fact that they could grow here in containers or raised beds. The communual feeling seems to be disappearing quickly. Flower people, as J. said, are not always the same as vegetable people...Two gardeners have constructed a huge vegetable planting bed with high walls in back of mine, squeezing every inch out of the space so that I have almost no space to stand even on the shared path. It changes the feeling of being there a lot. So I'm not sure what will happen, but I'm not feeling happy about it except that I do like to grow flowers to cut and bring to the apartment, and having the garden allows me to do that. I can go early in the morning when few people are there, and enjoy the solitude.
Living with a great many other people in close quarters is one of the big adjustments I've had to make in the move from country to city, and sometimes it isn't easy. The use of public parks, walking and bike paths, public gardens, public transportation, and so many other shared services, is something I strongly believe in, support, and enjoy, but for those things to work, people need to be considerate of each other. For the most part, people in Montreal are extremely polite and aware of each other. But every spring, I do find myself missing the privacy and solace of my own garden. I thought I had adjusted, but this development shows me I've got some more work to do. In spite of loving the beauty of spring, in a lot of ways it's always the hardest time of year for me: too many losses that came in these months, too much sense that - like Christmas for many people - everyone is overjoyed and I should be too.
Grief is always hard, isn't it? And it creeps up on us when we don't expect it, when we thought we had gotten over things that were painful. It's important to be gentle with ourselves, but also to think about what we do have, and be grateful. As urban existences go, we have a pretty wonderful one, and even though many people I love are no longer with me, they gave me so much that lives on.