Once a week a girlfriend, Cxx, and I go for a walk. We live in the same neighborhood and we both have children the same age (both of us being late-bloomers). We both love ice-cream, are in a love-hate relationship with our bodies and struggle daily with the balance between work and family. And we have been friends since we were TEN years old. You don’t need to know how many decades it has been… all you need to know is that we have been friends for a long (long) time. Needless to say… she knows my inner workings even better than I do sometimes. She knows to laugh off my cranky spats and will laugh at my not so funny jokes. Cxx is a friend deep and true.
Our weekly walks are an opportunity to safely vent about our husbands and laugh at our children’s foibles. We can boast without bragging and express concern without whining. We share big dreams, petty little worries and mundane daily happenings. Sometimes not much happens from week to week, but recently life’s changes have been occurring at a fast clip and our chats are filled with teary frustrations as well as bursts laughter. I look forward to these walks each and every week. They force me to leave my desk and get outside, they work my body and they rejuvenate my soul.
Which is great, because the weather hasn’t been equally as rejuvenating. During the winter months, the Pacific NW displays two colors. Grey and green. Oh sure, occasionally, that bright, blue, magnificent sky will make an appearance. And while we all run outside to soak up the sun… the view is still just a brighter green and a brighter grey.
Every once in a while we are surprised to a treat. During the month of February, the Witch Hazel will make her cheerful appearance and the Lenten Rose will emerge with its nodding cups of color. The other day Cxx and I were walking briskly when a flash of pink and a spicy fragrance caused us to pause our lively banter. The shrub was a mass of arching, bare sticks, telling a tale of cold winter days. But scattered along the branches were little bursts of flowers.
The cold, grey winter can seem long and unrelenting by February. I look out my window and it seems as though little changes from day to day. But then a bright spark will appear and remind me that even though the rest of the world is sleeping, the seasons continue to cycle and spring will in fact come again. For this and for a friendship that is long and true I give thanks.
Viburnum x bodnantense – Bodnant Viburnum
The star attraction of the Bodnant Viburnum is the bright pink, fragrant flower clusters that make an appearance during the cold grey of winter. The rest of the year the shrub serves as a textured background plant. A deciduous shrub reaching 8 ft in height and an equal spread the Bodnant Viburnum does best in full sun and regular water, but will do ok with part shade and even a little neglect. During the spring months the shrub has red ornamental berries that will attract birds and butterflies.