With my 56th approaching by week’s end, I thought to throw out a birthday challenge. Can I create a post a day through Friday, limit 300 words or so, each one about Nature or our garden? Of all the topics I blog about, writing about Nature thrills me the most.

Having been born in the spring and raised in Atlanta, I always thought the world celebrated my birthday by bursting into blossom. And while many a birthday up here in the Great Lake State has often been spent wearing snow boots, this year my day has been heralded for nearly two weeks already.

I am grateful for each of you who stops by, leaves a comment or just allows my words to lift your heart or pique your curiosity. I won’t send out a daily notice of a new post. Just know that there will be a nature reflection each day this week. Ready for this week’s 56K Birthday Challenge entry? So am I. Here is the first one.

Thank you to Martin Darvick for this great photo!

Forsythia. I sometimes think of it as a garden’s stepchild. Glorious for about two weeks, it fades to a utilitarian green, branches wild and unkempt its taxi-yellow blossoms faded to brown mush upon the earth. Forsythia is a great garden element, but nothing to build a landscape around. And yet this bright golden-yellow shrub is spring’s harbinger, coming into bloom even if there is snow on the ground, waving her blossom-laden branches as if shouting to one and all, “Hey! Wake up, everybody! Spring is here and I AM SHE!”

For all my gentle dissing of this beautiful flowering shrub, there is a nearby stretch of forsythia that is magnificent; I await its return each spring. The shrubs have been sculpted into a nicely-rounded hedge some six feet tall. And it stretches, are you ready?, for almost half a mile. Each year it calls to mind a great golden caterpillar inching its way down the road. The country club on Maple Road that maintains and nurtures this beauty does so from Franklin Road almost to Inkster. I am grateful to whomever the Knollwood deciders are who ensure it is kept up, fertilized, and trimmed so precisely into its signature form. With budgets being savaged everywhere, it is good to know that some expenditures endure for the good of all.

Had the author of Ecclesiastes been writing about forsythia, she surely would have added a coda to her time to plant, time to sow line: there is a time to blossom and a time to fade, a time to appreciate and a time to recall with delight.