Spring has always been, for me, the beginning of a new year. Winter is a time of enduring, waiting for the return of warmth, flowers, and the sun. When the rains come and the green unfurls, then I feel the quickening of my heart in time with the bird’s song.
I’ve had a garden always, it seems. The earliest memories are of my mother’s gardens, I’m sure, but I can’t remember a spring that didn’t involve seeds in damp earth, with the smell of it intoxicating me. The harbingers of spring were not the robins, but the glossy unformed promises of the seed catalogs in the mailbox. Even as a grown woman knowing their photos of falsely bright blooms were lies, I still pored over the pages, dreaming.
Seed orders were made, remade, laughed at the totals of absurd sums, and made again. Later, on the farm, calculations of how many seeds in an ounce of tomato seeds and how many square feet would that sow, and where shall we plant them this year? The memorable year we ordered hundreds of trees and shrubs from the county plant sale, only to have me alone planting when Dad was ill. Frantically laying in tender roots to keep them alive, digging around rocks with blistered fingers.
A change of scene, of life, and now I have to rein in my ambitions. A tiny garden, but blissfully no rocks. Fertile soil and slowly, a garden has grown in spite of my neglect. I stood in the kitchen today cupping potential in my hand.
Tightly coiled promises of color, flavor, nourishment for the soul and the body. Seeds full of potential energy, of genetic material that is only needing moisture and darkness to burst forth into the life a new year always brings.
I must be careful not to overpromise, so a few seeds only. It’s hard not to be profligate, and sow them all, giddy with the potential growth the little packages imply. I go to stores and want to bring home plants, exotic herbs and perennials that will give much for little attention paid them. Perhaps someday there will again be time for a grand garden, one that overflows with flowers and bees and fruit and seeds…
For now, it’s all potential. Summer is coming, but first, the spring storms.