Friday, January 04, 2008

Starting Anew


The seed catalogs started coming in the mail two days after Christmas. One day after my grandfather died. Although I despise shopping in the traditional sense, there is something incredibly appealing about settling in to the couch with a cup of tea and a catalog. Sitting with my girls, each of us armed with a Sharpie, flipping through the pages and scanning the photographs of gloriously colored fruits and vegetables.

My oldest daughter goes slowly, reading the details of whether or not we have to start the seeds indoors or plant them directly into the ground. Frustrated with the snail's pace, my youngest brandishes her pen like a magic wand, circling the ones with the most striking photos regardless of the required growing season or agricultural zone.

We have decided to triple the size of our garden this year. A blue tarp sits in the field, covering decomposing newspaper that is supposed to kill the grass beneath it. I imagine worms and grubs emerging from the depths of the cold soil to munch the sodden paper and turn it into rich soil. It is my job to whittle down the list of seeds to order and plan the calendar. I'll make sure the compost is turned into the ground and gauge the perfect time to plant according to the last frost. I will provide the seeds, row markers, and child-size gloves.

As we sit together, looking over the pages and pages of possibilities I feel the healing begin. Tiny rips begin to knit themselves together within me. Thoughts of spending time with my children, planning ways to enrich this place we call home, planting seeds in the earth with the faith that magic will happen beneath the dirt even though we can't see it, all of these feel warm and hopeful. We will gently push these small things into the soil, nurture them with water and sunlight and care even as we leave them to do what they were designed for. We will be rewarded for our efforts and our care. Possibilities abound.

5 comments:

Carrie Wilson Link said...

1) I can't believe you trust your girls with Sharpies whilst sitting on a couch.

2) You can't triple your garden, you're moving to Portland! Don't forget to move to Portland!

3) GREAT post and great metaphors!

4) love.

Eileen said...

I love this post. I can just see you and your girls, sitting together, picking out seeds to order. Such a beautiful idea, growth, life and new beginings. You are so right, possibilities abound!

Love.

Deb said...

Portland is a great place for gardens!

The gift of a seed catalog in the dreary midst of post-holiday winter cannot be celebrated enough. I love how well you expressed the hope and glory of those bright pages. I'm with your youngest - get all the best and brightest stuff - no worries about the practicalities of growing seasons!

La La said...

I really enjoyed reading this. I've never had a garden. I can't seem to keep a plant alive. I wouldn't know where or how to start, so I love image you create here of choosing seeds with your girls, the image of the magic that will happen under the earth, the beauty of the budding plants. The possibilities. Love this.

Jenny said...

Sounds fun...you'll have to give me some tips. I'd like to garden.

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