In Kekionga, like everywhere else in the Midwest, the first crocuses to bloom are the very small ones with the narrow striped leaves. These are wilder that the larger kind that open later, and they spread further ever year across the lawns of old houses where they have been growing more or less forever. And thanks to the squirrels they march across the new lawns of the housing developments, blooming and passing before anyone decides to get the mower out.
They open slowly, one at a time, over several days, and close tightly at night. Their stamens are bright chrome yellow, and their petals are pale purple, or golden, or white with purple bases.
And in the oldest of the old neighborhoods east of downtown, in the rough old lawns of Jessie’s house, there are early crocuses of a soft, unearthly white with a single purple stripe, as narrow as a hair, running down the center of each petal.
In Kekionga, the children call them ghost crocuses.