Perennials vs Annuals…which are humans emulating?

Photo by Takao Numata on

I haven’t yet put away my Craft Sportswear base layer running apparel as it is as required as my Saucony running shoes during my cold daily 7am runs. Wind driven snow hit my face this morning in a regular pattern making my eyes quickly and periodically blink the icy flakes away. The wind blows hard coming in from Barnard, VT early this April 16th, 2020.  

Just a half mile into my run my foot leaves the pavement and reaches for the unpaved dirt road entering what feels like my secret garden. This morning the road felt hard underfoot as the dirt was smooth and firmly packed. There was no Springtime sign of mud season with its telling deep ruts and slippery surface.  Happily, I did hear the sound of the river flowing in a Spring- like manner. Comforted that the river still flows knowingly and uninterrupted. Not everything has changed.

The daffodils in the front garden have retreated since their promise yesterday. Hopefully they have not given up and still believe that sunny warm days are ahead. I was thinking about the differences between perennial and annuals this morning. The landscape appeared stark and gray reflecting my own thoughts this early morning and void of brightly colored plant life. Google provided a working definition of perennial and annuals as I was curious about their coexistence and purpose in nature: Perennial flowers are those that continue to grow year after year after remaining dormant throughout the winter. Annuals typically are planted in the spring and summer months, bloom for the season, and then die. Gardeners often supplant perennial gardens with lively, colorful annuals.”

All living things are connected on our planet.  I began to wonder about how humans fit in right now? Are we emulating annuals or perennials?   Is there a grand scheme? Has the corona virus determined our future? Bears are freely playing in Yosemite National Park since people are nowhere to be found. In Arlington, MA a hawk dines on a rabbit curbside which is normally employed by busy commuting pedestrians in this citylike town just outside of Boston. A fox curls up on a rock outside my bedroom window while she unflinchingly and fearlessly stares back at me. Do the animals know humans are unwell? 

A curious time leads to questioning my subjective reality as the snow continues to fall in a squall like manner. Seasonally it is time for marathons, baseball, mountain biking but not now, not this spring and possibly not next but like the perennials we will retreat until conditions are right to bloom again…

Author: Elizabeth Ricketson

A graduate of Providence College with a BA in English, Elizabeth Ricketson has always had a love of literature and the fine arts. Elizabeth’s essays focus on life experiences and life in Vermont.

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