Monday, February 7, 2011

Doom and gloom and me-oh-my.

I did something this weekend that made me both pleasantly optimistic and panicky, both at the same time! WHAT, you ask, could be so cheerful and horrifying, to inspire such conflicting feelings?

The answer: I started tomato seeds for my garden.

It was exciting to pull out my packets of heirloom tomato seeds and begin soaking them to help germination. I ordered a few more varieties from Diane's Flower Seeds and started soaking a few bell pepper seeds too. After 24 hours of soaking, I planted them in my little seed-starter greenhouse, lovingly filled and watered with hands clothed in brand-new gardening gloves.

All the while, I felt a satisfying enjoyment, picturing bushy, well-watered plants and rows of home-canned tomato jars lining the pantry. There is something so refreshing about planning one's garden in late winter. All the mistakes and foibles of last season are wiped away, with the promise of compost, Round-Up, Preen, new tomato cages, and of fresh energy to provide a clean slate for brand-new plants. In the garden of my daydreams, weeds, pests, and hot, dry weather don't bother me a bit. And sitting at the dining room table, looking out at the gray skies, the cold weather makes yard work even seem possible.

But once the tomato seeds were tucked into their beds of planting mix, the inevitability of their growth hit me like a brick. Soon the tiny leaves would appear, and then - THEN -

As we climbed into bed last night I felt myself seize up in panic. Oh no, I though. Oh NO! Summer's going to be here soon! The realization that February was almost halfway over startled me enough that I reached over and grasped Brian's arm. "Honey," I complained urgently, "winter's almost over! What are we going to DO?" All the romantic garden scenes I'd been picturing gave way to a stark image of reality in the Raleigh summer sun - dried-out garden rows, flourishing weeds, heat so strong it wilted entire trees. Early every morning last summer, I painstakingly watered the garden, brushing ticks off my legs as I walked through the grass and wiping sweat off my neck before the sun had even risen. Yet despite my efforts with the hose, midday would come and the world would be drooping, dying in the heat. I worried for my garden and its produce was sadly lacking. Even the raspberries, our champions of heat and drought, became pitiful. Everything was pitiful. I was most pitiful of all.

And I was so looking forward to winter, anxiously awaiting the cold relief. I can't believe it's almost over.

And mark my words, as soon as March gets here, winter is long gone. Oh February, why, why must you be so short?!

AUGH. GAH. ARGH!!! Summer is almost here!


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