I could tot up a list of hindrances and the sum would be a smudged excuse. I had every intention to start writing in this new place months ago, when the magnolia was in full bloom. Spring seems like a good time for new beginnings of all things. And I guess one good thing about living in this green and loamy part of the country is that Spring is near endless. On and on of rain and sprouts. Cool nights and overcast days and brilliant sun breaks and damp air, sweet like candy. There’s no quick hop to summer heat here, the way it is in other places. And so, spring has sprung, and yet, it’s really just getting started.
This is what you need to know: everything is about growing stuff right now. Our oddly shaped but decently sized city lot (you know, decently sized for a city lot. it’s bigger than average but our house sprawls out like a four year old in mama’s bed) is doing all sorts of things for us. We’ve carved about 700 square feet of gardening space into what had been, for over fifty years, but well tended lawn. The remaining grass is anything but well tended, and I keep meaning to paint a little sign for the tsk tsking neighbor’s benefit, something like, “this yard chooses health and biodiversity over pristine and weedless.” Dandelions, welcome! Come one, come all! I’ll pluck your leaves and throw you in a salad!
Unless, perserverant weedy things, you’re choking out the peas or the blueberries or the favas or the kale. . . then I’ll spend countless hours on my knees with a hand trowel, digging up stubborn roots, tossing them into the old yellow plastic Portland Recycles bin, smiling at the simple loveliness of it all. (shh! don’t tell anyone, but i really sort of love weeding. oh wait. see? i wrote about it already at the old place, it’s not a secret at all. i just enjoy the slowness, the aloneness, the importance of it that much.)
The children and I were away for half of May, the last chunk of April, and we came home to so much growth. The comfrey was a low growing puff of a few leaves when we departed, and four feet tall and flowering upon our return. Remarkable!
It’s hard to be gone on a long trip and then get back into the swing of things. Especially, perhaps, when the things aren’t so much swinging. A lot of our days are powered by my initiative, which is to say, we buck systems and do not often plug into bigger machines. Life has thrown us wrenches, though, and the haphazardness that was something of an unconventional routine, before, feels stale and harder now. But maybe it’s the season. To work on what I’m growing in the dirt, what I’m making of my life. To dig up the stuff that doesn’t thrill me and plant in its place what does.