There is a certain kind of despair that can overcome the heart of every gardener as we abide in a long winter. With the enduring dampness and short, dark days, one must fight against melancholy with mind vacations to spring.
As I trudge out to tend to the coop, I glance longingly at piles of leaves needing to be raked and the mountain of compost in the bed of the old work truck sits dejected and forgotten.
The fireplace is cozy, yes. But how I long for spring’s warm breath on my face, sweetened by the scent of blossoms. I long to dig my fingers in warm soil, and to spend an entire day in the blissful toil of the outdoors.
As some spend hours dreaming of foreign things like department stores and wild clothing sprees, in my wild imagining mind I roam the garden aisles. My cart is overflowing with blossoms and my fingertips brush all the ferns I pass, collecting their little dew drops like a thousand sweet pearls.
The chickens feet are red with cold and their run is muddy; sodden. We pass the days indoors and the kids are as restless as I am; even the youngest though she doesn’t know what she’s missing. She hasn’t yet felt the grass between her little toes, or known the heat of summer with it’s lazy shimmery beams rising up from the hot earth.
I have them sort dried beans. We bake. The librarians at our book haven a block away know us by name. The carpet collects pieces of crayon and play dough. On the walls are naughty pencil marks I have yet to Magic Erase, another afterthought to add to the list of “to-do’s”.
In desperation I bundle us all up despite the whines and protests and seemingly insurmountable effort it requires. Boots, hats, slickers. Dreaded shoes. Then we are at least free of the confines of four walls and that in itself is healing almost instantly.
It happens when I’m filling my lungs with a sharp breath of the rainy air. I look down and see a little clump of them, straight as soldiers stretching their necks up to the sky, wearing a vivid green. Oh brave Narcissus! Then there is a wonderfully unlikely chaotic spread of Mammoth Sunflower starts that have also been coaxed out of hiding.
I thank the rain and feel a warm glow start in my belly and spread to my fingertips and then up to the smile on my face. Spring is coming…