Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What does one do on a February day that seems as though it should be occurring on the first of April—wonder why winter never really came; think of global warming; worry about weather’s vengeance in coming months?

I didn’t do any of those things. Instead, I got out some seed catalogs. It’s not that I’m any great gardener, but there’s something about the approach of spring that has always caused me to think of growing vegetables, flowers, anything. I’ve been that way from the time I was a small child. It might be due to the fact that I was raised in the country. I remember the seed catalogs arriving to our house in January of every year. The luscious fruits and vegetables pictured in them served to inspire me, although I’m not sure which was most appealing, the thought of planting a garden or the thought of school ending for the summer.

My family poured over the seed catalogs and every year, as soon as the snow vacated the ground and the neighbor’s tractor could access the garden, that plot of ground was plowed. It was allowed to lie in that condition through most of April and then it was disked and about the last week of April the planting began. We had a large garden as did many of our neighbors, and my family canned and preserved enough to carry us through the following winter.

I moved away from the country when I grew older and for many years I didn’t have the opportunity to garden. But I never lost my yearning for spring planting. Eventually, city life changed to country living once again and I found that my desire to plant was still alive. To tell the truth, I was never as enthusiastic about the harvest. I loved to plan, to plant and to tend, but the harvest, for some reason, was not, for me, the high point of gardening. Perhaps it was the creation of something that interested me. If it had not been for the fact of waste I would have been just as happy to forego the harvest, or let it go to those more interested.

I wonder if similar feelings had some part in Martin Luther’s famous quote, “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” I think not, but then, again—perhaps.

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