The holidays are
over. The Superbowl has come and
gone. That mountain of snow in the
parking lot of Home Depot is a pile of black sludge. A thin layer of salt perpetually frosts the
cars; the roads; even, occasionally, my best pair of black slacks. The house is cold. My feet are cold. Winter, it seems, has lost its sheen.
catchers reported the other day,” my husband says hopefully, pulling away the
curtain and frowning at the gray sky. I
nod and return my attention to the UPS truck pulling up outside our house. I open the front door. The driver goes to the side of his truck,
grabs a huge box and skates his way up our icy sidewalk to present me with…
there?” My husband points at the box.
I smile and close
the door. “Seeds.”
He rolls his eyes
and returns to the sports page. “You
always buy too much.”
I open the box and
pull out packets of beans, corn, tomatoes, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, squash,
broccoli, peas...I tear open the bag just to feel the wrinkled peas in my hand;
to marvel at the memory of nature quietly going about her business as she has
Invariably, I rush
the season and begin planting: First rosemary.
Then parsley. Artichokes. Carefully pressing two or three impossibly
small seeds into the soil; my little soldiers of spring lined up in peat pots
in every available window. And then I
wait, counting back the weeks from the last frost as steadily as my husband
counts the days forward until Opening Day.
My husband glances
up from his paper and smirks. I know
what he’s thinking. Too often, my garden
brings disappointment. Too much rain,
perhaps, or maybe that vacation in June where we got behind and never caught
up. Just one day of neglect may leave my
rosemary seedlings slumped over the soil, their withered bodies an
accusation. Too often, my husband ends
up disappointed as well: player slumps; injuries; bad calls; plain dumb luck,
will leave him frustrated, wanting the season to just end already.
But every so
often, his team wins a championship. And
once in awhile, in late July, I’ll discover the perfect tomato, still full of
summer’s warmth when I slice it and layer it over thick wedges of homemade
bread with salt and pepper and grated parmesan cheese.
And so, as the
snow falls gently outside, we continue dreaming: of gardens and baseball; of angled
hoes scratching the earth; of clean white baseballs whirling through the air
towards the batter, patiently waiting for that perfect pitch. Better days are coming. It’s nearly Opening Day. And last frost is April 15.
Labels: Creative non-fiction, Gardening