Grabbing tightly at the base, I pull upwards and yank last winter's snapdragons out of the ground, freeing them from the dirt that has embraced their roots, and that their roots have embraced in turn, as they grew from November through April. I do so with regret: for the most part, they are still rather vibrant; their stems and leaves turgid with life; fresh blossoms still lemon yellow. Perhaps with more water they would survive a bit longer into the hot season. But their season is ending; new flowers wait to take their place in the bed.
This spring's gardening seems unusually poignant; my breath catches as I tear the live plants from the ground. But by uprooting them, I am making room for something new. It was also Lazarus Saturday as I was digging in the ground, tearing out dying things to make way for new life. Lazarus Saturday marks what it implies: the raising of Lazarus from the tomb; prefiguring Orthodox Easter (Pascha) that will occur this year on April 27. The significance of this made me pause and wonder; made me catch my breath as I imagined the possibility of new beginnings that stretch beyond the mere scope of my flower bed.