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Think Spring

2011 February 1
by prgiff

     Tiffany from Minnesota commented on my blog Snow Day. She wrote, “It’s all summer talk here in Minnesota—talk of bike rides and canoeing on the lake and days spent barefoot in the grass.”

     When I was worried, or sad, or even bored, my mother would say, “You can think of only one thing at a time. Choose to think of something wonderful.” And isn’t the feeling of being barefoot on the grass wonderful?

     So this morning, with Tiffany and my mother in mind,

     I promised myself that I wouldn’t agonize over the ice on our shallow pond. There’s only the narrowest black inlet of water and not much room for the huge catfish that live underneath. I wouldn’t grieve over the young evergreens I planted whose branches are bent and will never be straight and true again when the snow finally leaves.

     Instead I throw cracked corn out for the ducks and sunflower hearts for the birds. “Think spring,” I whisper.

     I search through my shelves for OUR LIFE IN GARDENS written by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009.) It’s my favorite of all the gardening books I’ve read. Eck writes: “This book is a mixed bag, a gypsy trunk of this and that.” He talks of garden design and particular plants. But for me the loveliest part is his memory of how their garden evolved.

     I remember my first garden. My mother gave me a tiny plot at the side of our house, so small I could put my arms around it. I still remember the verbena that bordered it and its heady scent early in the growing season. It was my mother who gave me my love of gardening.

     But what I’m thinking of most this morning is a book I found in the library, called GARDENING FOR A LIFETIME by Sydney Eddison (Timber Press, 2010.) Because of her age and the loss of her husband, Eddison has realized she can’t garden as extensively as she did when she was younger. And so this is a book about using lower maintenance plants and accepting imperfection in the garden.

     I wish I’d had this book when I was a young teacher with three children. It’s as perfect for that age as it is for older gardeners. I remember going outside after dinner to garden, to sow and weed until it was dark. It was never enough. I’d like to put this book into the hands of all the people who love gardens and haven’t enough time, or enough energy to make their efforts perfect.

     So there. I haven’t thought of snow for an hour. As I write I think of planting day lilies as Sydney Eddison did.

     And I’m thinking too, it’s only about seven weeks until I plant pansies again. Lovely thought.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. February 1, 2011

    Thank you for including me in your beautiful post. I love your mother’s advice, to choose something wonderful to thing about. I think that will be my new motto!

    I was just climbing onto my computer to order my Burpee Seed Catalog and another from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. We’ll be under snow for another two or three months, but inside we’ll be hatching plans for spring planting! Gardening talk is perfect talk for February. I’ve been thumbing through Rosalind Creasy’s edible landscaping books, looking for inspiration. I can’t wait to read the ones you suggested.

    My boys and I were watching Planet Earth the other day, the part with the Emperor Penguins. The narrator talked about how they huddled together for four months under a sunless sky, all because they each carried a single egg resting on their feet.

    My first thought was, Why would they do that? Why is that worth it?

    And then I realized that we are essentially doing the same thing, huddling inside, keeping our families safe and warm and happy through these long winter months. What keeps us going is that seed of hope, the surety that in a few months the egg will crack at our feet, and out will tumble Spring.

  2. February 17, 2011

    i love it

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