Ready, Set, Be Patient

It can’t last forever, this snow. I keep telling myself that. The days do get longer. Melting snow slides off the roof, plinks into the gutters, trickles in a steady stream out the downspouts.  Yes, spring is coming. I know it.

But, I have a hard time keeping my desire for sunshine and warm weather in check. I am so eager, so impatient. I ache to see the snow gone, to feel the sun on my cheeks – knowing I can shed my coat on morning walks, to find the ground dry enough to work in the garden.

That’s it, really. I want to work in the garden. That desire, that itch, to plant the seeds, to see them grow, is age old. The itch runs in our family, most likely in the blood of all farm people.

Each spring, my dad took oat seed from the bin, sprinkled it on a damp handkerchief, rolled it up and sealed it in a fruit jar that was placed on a south-facing kitchen window sill to catch the sun. In a week or so, he opened the jar, gently unrolled the cloth and counted the seeds that germinated. That annual test of whether the seed in our oat bin was viable was the signal to me that spring was coming.

Soon enough, Dad was in the machine shed, getting the tractor and plow ready to roll.  He said as soon as you could sit your bare bottom on the ground without getting cold, it was time to plant. I admit, I never actually saw him do this.

These days, I’m sure spring is here when my husband brings out his box of vegetable seeds, sits down with the season’s stack of seed catalogs, and begins to sketch out this year’s garden plan on a yellow pad. He’s been working it over in his head all winter, but it’s serious when he finally puts pencil to yellow pad.

For my part, I look with anticipation at the sticks littering the ground – hid until now by snow drifts, but revealed stick by stick as the snow melts – knowing I’ll be gathering them up and throwing them on the chipper pile. I dream of hostas and cone flowers and Black-eyed Susans emerging so I can divide the new shoots and transplant them to my son’s garden. I calcuate how much effort and sand it will take to right the leaning garden sculpture.

Oh, I have dozens of projects that will let me get dirt under my fingernails, result in an inevitable ache in my back, lead the way to bug bites and complaints about the heat. I don’t care. I want it all. Now!

I am ready. I am set. And, I just have to be patient.

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