Spring is here at the Beguinage. When I returned the end of January, gaily colored primroses greeted me at the sheltered back gate as `I came in from the cold` of Massachusetts. I thought Spring was right around the corner but that was not the case. There were two months of waiting albeit impatiently as it is not really cold here in Brugge like the ice, snow and freezing temperatures of my home. But… the day has come, the zeeschildpad (large turtle) is back from his 6 month hibernation. I remember when we last saw him/her in October and the Sister who generously feeds him lettuce, tomatoes, and his favorite strawberries (!) commented that he would be back at St Benedict’s Day, March 21, rather appropriate since we are Benedictine sisters and he has chosen a Benedictine convent cloister for his home. He was out of his house today and promenading in the garden in the warmish sun and was coaxed into nibbling on a lettuce leaf. I saw him for the first time.
Zeeschildpad is sharing the cloister garden at the moment with Mrs Duck who is brooding literally amongst the wizened wisteria trunks. She is so camouflaged matching the vine trunks that I had to really look to see her but she is there right next to the cloister door. Again I am told she returns every year to this spot and why not with the garden pool for swimming and teaching ducklings to fish in the safety of the cloister. Now the men, there are four of them who sit on the top ridge of the roof of the cloister to stand watch and are sometimes spied napping in other parts of the monastery garden. They seem to stick together these four. I imagine there are three other Mrs Ducks but I do not know their whereabouts. I will keep watch for when they parade the young but for now they are out of my sight at least.
The forsythia and the hyacinths are up in the garden and now a large bouquet is blessing the Mary Statue on the side altar in the church.
On a practical note, I killed my first Spring mosquito last night!