“Work worn hands
The first blue iris”
I copied the haiku from a library book many years ago. Acting it out has become an annual ritual.
January 23rd, Skus called me outdoors to see the first bloom. It happens to be purple, but that’s okay. In this new home it’s the only color so far; we ordered six assorted, planted them last fall, and some of the corms are showing green already, but we can’t count on them blooming this year. When they do we’ll have a lovely surprise. Next time we order, we’ll fill in missing colors—like a true blue.
The next day, he carried the two blooms into the house, fulfilling the annual promise.
The bad news is that it’s much too early. With California’s drought and record-breaking warm winter weather, not only the blooming iris but swelling buds on grape vine and peach tree portend total crop losses if we have our usual freezing snaps in February, March, and/or April. And if we don’t freeze thoroughly, we’ll have a bad insect year because there wasn’t the usual winter die-off. Sunday afternoon, when the unseasonable warmth allowed a birthday party in the park for great-granddaughter Esmeray, a bee flew around our table exploring open pop cans and fried chicken–not a good sign in January.