Sunday, April 20, 2014

The certainty of robins and tulips

I'm not sure if you can see the russet coloured chests on these brave little birds, but yes these are robins. The robins who settle here in my city for summer seem always to be rather hardy souls, as it is generally still chilly when they arrive.

I spied my first robin this week, and as always I was delighted. But the week has been terribly cold for spring, and we had up to 1 centimeter of snow, frozen rain, snow flurries, and temperatures as low as -18C, all week. Highways were closed due to icy driving conditions. Poor robins.

Today, is a nice change and it looks like the temperature will be up to about 13C.

 In January, my small group of children at the daycare center, where I work, and I undertook to force tulip bulbs to grow indoors. I had some bulbs at home, which I had not got around to planting in the fall, and they had begun to sprout, so I thought it might be interesting to see if we could force them to grow.

The children loved filling the bottoms of glass canning jars, (Mason jars), with glass marbles, and then we added water, and placed one bulb per jar to rest on top of the marbles. The marbles or gems were meant to act as a wick and draw the water up to the bulb.

We stored the jars under a crawlspace in the building where it would be dark and cool, for about 8 weeks. To keep our interest, I brought the jars up regularly to see any growth.

So, after, about 8 weeks the little bulbs did seem to have some roots, and we decided to plant them in soil, and leave them in the sunlight.

The picture above was taken just after planting them, but since then they have actually grown a few inches, and are beginning to develop leaves. I had hoped they might bloom in time for Easter, but still it's great to see they are growing, and taught me and my small group of children a little about the resilience of plants, I think.

Soon, the earth will warm here, and tulips are sure to grow and I am hoping my children might make the connection from these flowers to their small project over our very cold winter.

Spring does provide us with these reminders of natures' resilience, and certainty. The robins will arrive, and the flowers will come up.

We can be sure of this.