Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Rite of Spring

by Pa Rock

Some days in Arizona are worse than others, and I often punish myself with thoughts of what I would be doing if I were back in the real world - the world with trees, and grass, and thunderstorms, and seasons.  Right now it is the "seasons" that I am particularly missing.

There is snow on the ground at home, back in the Missouri Ozarks.  And while too much snow staying on the ground for too long a time can make life difficult, and sometimes even painful, a modest amount of snow over a few days can make for some of the best times of the entire year.

I have gotten too old for sledding or snowball fights, but I still could enjoy walking into the woods following the trails of hungry rabbits or any of nature's other creatures who are battling to survive the rigors of winter.   Snow is also great to look at through the window while sitting next to a comfortable wood fire.  And there is always snow ice-cream, a wonderful winter treat.

One of the things that I have always looked forward to in the depths of winter is spending hours, again - by a warm wood fire, going through seed catalogues and making plans for a garden, or a few raised vegetable and flower beds.  Everything is picture-perfect in a seed catalogue, and the message is that you can bring that same perfection to your yard and your ego with some hard work and a lot to tender, loving care.

Seed catalogues are harbingers of resurrection, the pathway to renewal.  But in Arizona they are little more than junk mail.

Cactus and cotton grows well in the Scorpion State, but anything else takes almost constant water and a goodly amount of artificial shade - and still the heat slips in and snuffs the life from most seedlings.  A couple of years ago I bought some strawberry plants and put them out in a nice plant bed.  I have grown strawberries back in the real world and know how it is done.   I gave them plenty of water, kept them well weeded, and even held long discussions with each of the plants, but when I had to leave and go to work, the desert heat crawled in and took them away.  It was so disappointing.

So I won't even look at seed catalogues out here, but I long for the days when I can not only look - but order as well.  Planning and planting a patch of good earth is a true rite of spring.

I also miss composting, but don't get me started on that!

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