This is my favourite time of year (except for summer maybe, with its swimming and long evenings). A friend wrote to me the other day asking what I thought about miracles. Are there miracles? Have I experienced any? I wrote back about hellebores. Isn’t it a miracle of sorts that when it’s still cold and just starting to get lighter in the mornings and afternoons, that there’s enough light for hellebores to throw open their pink or dark purple petals and bloom? And then maybe pull the focus back, way back, what about the miracle of seasons themselves, that the earth rotates on its axis daily, and revolves around the sun, tilting the poles either towards or away. (I think that’s how it goes.) And plants sleep and go dormant, then Echinacea starts putting up its dark purple shoots, and seeds lie on the ground waiting to spring up again – kale everywhere? That the seeds know how much light they need and how long the days should be before they start? And that there is a sun at all? And that some of these February days it has a bit of warmth and you can sit out of the wind and feel it before the snow comes again? That’s a miracle. Yes there are miracles. And yes I have experienced them. In the classic spiritual memoir, “Autobiography Of A Yogi” by Yogananda, he writes about meals that appear miraculously, about ordinary humans who never eat, about terrible sicknesses cured. I don’t know myself about those kind of miracles, but I can vouch for hellebores in my garden in February.
In those days, when life in Roberts Creek was uncomplicated, summer evenings were spent either on