I’d put my garden beds to bed mid November last; planting bulbs for the Spring, mulching the mountains of marvelous maple leaves from my neighbors overhanging tree, using them as blankets, tucking everything in nicely with a prayer and a song of farewell. Then, in all the indoor focus on the holidays, I watched through my windows as Winter took up my garden in Her cold hands. She squeezed the color from the landscape like it was Her dishrag. She shriveled plants till they became skeletons. She stole the green scent of nature like a thirsty thief. This is Winter’s wisdom, Her purpose.
Knowing that cycles are continual makes it easier to embrace Winter's stark beauty, to live the few months of abstinence from my garden. Easier, but not easy. I would willingly jump off that Winter wagon with just no provocation at all.
Then, two weeks past Winter Solstice, the first modern sign of Spring arrived. Why, the very next mail day after Christmas it came! I entered my office and immediately spotted it, splayed out for all to see, its wanton pages gaping wide open on the floor beneath the mail slot. I could have felt marketed to. My first thought could have been ‘Well, they don’t waste any time, do they?’ Instead, I was instantly seduced and my lust for All Things Garden surged through me with a geyser's gush!
My breath quickened as I lifted the Hallowed Seed Catalogue. My pupils dilated as I brought it to the table. There, I slowly and lovingly turned the first page. “Hello Gardeners!” I read, like it was a love letter. Promises of even better seed than ever I have grown allured me further, deeper, savoring each lick of my finger to turn yet another page. I ogled photos of juicy red tomato, seductive orange marigold, bold yellow sunflower, thick green cucumber, flirty blue borage, mysterious purple eggplant; here was the promise of the future before my lusting eyes! All of a sudden I am transported, and the warm sun is on my legs, my knees are dirty, dirty, dirty, sweat trickles down my neck and between my breasts and my hands gently probe and caress the fertile soil to make room for my seed. I mean the seed!
The catalogue does exactly what it is intended to do. It works me. I sneak peeks again and again as the days pass, marking pages, bargaining with myself- I can buy this if I forfeit that. I can't get enough and dreaming about this year's garden becomes the thread that weaves all other activities together in the fabric of my life.
When the day to put away the holidays arrives, I happily remember that I was gifted with a pretty, reindeer embossed, tin table centerpiece at Yule. Delighted to find that among the dried cedar and spruce, two small winterberry plants, still in their little black plastic holders from their nursery, are thriving. My minds travels to the new planter I bought late last year that sits waiting for me in the garden shed, open, ready, willing.
I can see my breath and feel the frozen ground crunch beneath my feet as I walk across my yard. My garden desk is exactly as I left it, like a loyal lover. The potting soil excites my hungry hands, the smell of it intoxicates. Tenderly, I plant the winterberries in their temporary home, promising them a spot in the Earth come Spring. They sigh as their roots spread out and I feel momentarily satisfied.
Back inside, I stand admiring them in the afterglow. The deep red berries are eye candy on my windowsill, but they don’t begin to slake my lust...for seed!