Home Springs Eternal

 
It is spring, my decision, the earth
ferments like rising bread…
        Margaret Atwood

crocus 3 march 13

Look closely. Crocus blading up through last October’s leaves on the flat corner lot.

I hear the word everywhere. Tiny crinklings as remnants of snow collapse: spring. Silver piping from the scout robin: Spring. Moaning coos escaping the ring-necked doves anxious for young: SPRING. First crocus, crocus blooming, crocus across the street, the gardeners chime: spring.

I have mixed feelings about spring.

There, I’ve said it. A gardener. I have mixed feelings about spring.

I have the expected, the normal feelings. Air that is both fresh and warm, air that is scented by awakened soil, air with a blush of humdity: Breathing this kind of air kindles exuberance. This kind of air through my hair and on my cheeks stands me up taller.

The first glimpse of green, always looked-for and yet always a surprise, is like meeting a new friend, one who seems utterly familiar.

…and yet… and yet…

Like the warning chords from the sound track of Jaws, these very delights set off a cold stream of ambivalence, as well.

I’m not a gardener who pines through winter. Not anymore, anyway. I don’t pour over catalogs or wish it wouldn’t snow. And the main reason I go through photos from the summer before, is to organize them. There isn’t time to organize them in the summer. And therein lies the rub.

Summer yields so little time.

Unlike many friends working in schools, offices, and firms of many sorts where summer offers vacation days and relaxing weekends, my summers are heaped with work. Winter is spacious, cordial, a break in routine. I get to try new things, see more friends, play. In summer, while my friends are playing and enjoying their gardens, I’m working in other peoples’ gardens and barely have time for my own.

I make time for my own, of course. Such an odd phrase — making time — as if it could be whipped up out of things you find in the fridge. Really, time isn’t made, it’s borrowed, stolen, traded. Until the next thing you know, you haven’t cooked in three weeks, you’re completely out of clean clothes, you can’t remember the last time you called your mother, and you’re friends have given up. It’s 9 PM on a Saturday; you’re standing in the gloaming with a hose in your hand; you really need a shower, supper, and a glass of wine; and you look up to Heaven and say outloud, “Do I ever get to do anything but garden?” But the One Who is Usually Listening just chuckles.

(Audible sigh). Yes. I sometimes feel ambivalent about spring.

Last year, I taught myself a gesture. When I felt summer crowding me, I jabbed my elbows out from my sides with a grunt. Then, I’d have to laugh, it felt so good.

It is spring. My decision: Summer is properous and relaxing, home and garden springs of time.

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14 thoughts on “Home Springs Eternal

  1. Cheryl, dunno if I’ve already said this or not in response to a previous blog, but you write so WELL! Just love it! — I can relate to your ambivalence, for similar, although slight different, reasons. In any case, thanks for sharing!

    • Heilke, even if you have said it before, it’s always heartwarming to hear. Thanks for reading, and for letting me know. I hope your ambivalence is mild and non-crippling, and can be turned around, too.

  2. Perhaps if I worked in horticulture professionally I would feel as you do. But for me, I can’t wait to have all that stuff to do, with my hands in the dirt and with my lungs full of fresh air.

  3. I have been watching the peonies pushing up through the ground with growing anticipation. Today was the first day that it actually felt like spring. The ground is still pretty wet. I was carful to not compact the soil, I spent the day moving plants and making the garden tidy, getting ready for when it all starts to bloom.

  4. You’re quite right about making time – if we could then it would be magic! Spring has sprung but I await the jaws theme tune 😉

  5. Cheryl I can understand your dilemma. For me I cannot wait for spring, but I do love the rest in winter…i have to make time for my garden as well even in summer as my job is 12 months a year and I can’t seem to ever find time to get int he garden with work…

  6. When it seems like winter will never lose its icy grip, the dainty goblet-shaped crocus pushes through the snow to put on a show of colorful revival. If you are not planting this perennial bulb, you are missing an early season of delight.

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