Wednesday. Oh me oh my o. I basically just walked around and took pictures of the beauty.
I was 18 when I experienced my first winter. Moving to western New York State for college brought all kinds of weather-related newness: thick coats, snow, and day after day of endless, bleak, seemingly unbearable, needle-like cold. I didn’t understand why people lived in such climates. It was beautiful for about five minutes, the perfect whiteness and all that, then I just shivered and waited it out.
In April, or most likely early May (Western NY being what it is), I finally understood. Spring.
Spring is why people live on the East Coast.
No one ever experienced a spring like I experienced the spring of 1997. Jacob and I had started going out two months before. We would take walks through the giant cemetery that bordered the campus, where Susan B Anthony and Frederick Douglass were buried. I marveled at everything. Little shoots coming out of the ground like miracles, flowers erupting all around, completely unbidden. I’m not sure I knew about annual plants when I was 18. Bulbs still pretty much blow my mind today. You plant them, and they just keep coming back. They know exactly what to do. Everything does. It’s spring! It happens all on its own, just when you think you can’t take the wet and the cold and the dark.
Seasons: I’m a big fan.
So, this Wednesday, here’s what was happening:
It was the first day of 100% off the grid laundry (in the winter I use my dryer). This is but a third of the laundry I did, and my legs still ache.
Still no leaves on the trees.
Well, no leaves to speak of.
I never go into these woods behind my house.
Technically they belong to my neighbor.
As I walked along, I nibbled, eating what people think vegans eat every day. Green shoots. Rabbit food.
Abovegroundpool reminded me of garlic mustard, and I ate a lot.
Also, the garlic leaves from some heirloom garlic I planted four years or so ago.
And so many greens I let go by: all these dandelions, already flowering, past the point I like to eat them, their greens already punishingly bitter. The spring is moving right along.
Dent de lion = lion’s tooth.
Wild chives everywhere.
The comfrey is already up, cucumbery and velvety. My friend Noel (Noel Furie, she of Furious Vulvas fame) gave me this plant. She once used comfrey compresses (and a lot of homeopathy, rest, and physical therapy) to heal a broken hip. Knitbone, as it’s called. It gets maybe 3 feet high by the end of the summer.
Her and Selma gave me this lavender, too, when Jacob & I first bought the house. I don’t think it’s supposed to survive the winter, but it always has. (It also doesn’t seem to have minded my horrible raking job last winter.)
And there is so much more in the garden already: lemon balm (which I sort of can’t stand), oregano, strawberries, sorrel.
My garden doesn’t look like much, and I pretty much never do anything to it apart from scatter some seeds once in a while, but it really produces. Since I use giant quantities of veggies and get them straight from farmers who grow them much better than I ever could, I only grow flowers and annual miscellanies and greens. I just have my small little weedy spaces tucked around the house, a pocket of wild marjoram here, a row of scraggly sage there. It’s perfect. No obligations, no stress. What comes up comes up. I’ll eat it or put it in a vase, or I won’t.
I’m pretty dispirited that I think I killed all the asparagus, though. I harvested every little shoot two years ago (greedy!), and since it was at least five years old (it was here when we bought the house) I thought that would be OK, but I guess I should have let some of it go to seed? There was none last year, and I don’t see any so far this year. I’ve been out checking almost every morning, desultorily* poking around, hoping to see a phallic little nub. Nothing.
In brighter news, I planted a whole bunch of grape hyacinth one fall. I neglected to notice that I was planting them right where the snow plow practically digs up the entire driveway several times each winter. I’m so proud of these tiny little stragglers. Holding on.
What do you suppose this is?
It’s in my garden, I don’t think it’s a weed. I think it might be a spinachy relative I planted two years ago (of possible Asian extraction), but I can’t remember. Last year I just let it do whatever it wanted, and it came back again this year to do the same. I ate a little today and didn’t die.
Why is there always so much raking to do in the spring, so matter how much you did in the fall?
Oh, what beauties.
It was all worth it, again.
PS: Oh, by the way, the AmericaTM flag? Looks way too American flaggy. Ugh.
*The dictionary is telling me this is not the word I mean–apparently “desultorily” means “randomly.” What’s the word I’m thinking of that starts with a D and means “glumly”??