This has been an unusual year in America in many ways including weather. In the mid-Atlantic states, we saw some winter days hit the low 70s, and then we endured recent spring days in the low 30s. My husband just noted that the weather channel is predicting that Denver will get five inches of snow today. Our poor plants, bushes, and trees have every right to be a bit confused.
We had one upsetting issue over the winter with frost heave. You may know that pressure from alternating freezing and thawing conditions can actually lift the soil and plants right out of the ground to produce the condition termed frost heave.
We had a lovely Viburnum bush at the corner of the house that also had sentimental ties; it was a transplant from my sister-in-law Alice’s yard and replanting it in our own yard was one of the last landscaping projects in which our son Tim assisted.
The power of nature is awesome to behold even when we’re unhappy with the results. That Viburnum bush now sits at a very odd angle, roots and ground heaved up from the earth, as you can see below.
The most common English definition of heave is to lift or move something heavy. We can also produce a long breath by “heaving a huge sigh of relief.” It can mean an attempt to vomit as in retching. In nautical vernacular, it means to pull, raise, or move a boat or ship by hauling on ropes.
Heave-ho is a nautical anachronism and was a command to sailors to pull hard in unison on a rope or cable. Today we might say someone was given the heave-ho if he was dismissed, rejected, fired from a job, or forcibly ejected.
Upheaval is closely aligned to heave. It’s a sudden change or disruption to something; a radical change. The pandemic was surely an upheaval to our way of life. But though we may have endured radical changes to what we perceived as normal, at our core, we are still US. We remain the kind and thoughtful people we were, and perhaps are even more so. Our capacity for compassion has grown.
Just like my Viburnum that endured the violent upheaval from the ground during the winter and yet has just blossomed and has hearty “fuzzy” dark green leaves, we can emerge from our upheaval with more beautiful souls.