I have kept a garden journal for a number of years, and as winter draws to a close I read through past entries as a means of stifling my latent and deep desire for the return of spring’s sunshine and warmth…the great forces behind nature’s burgeoning and unfolding life.
On reading my notes from the past I thought we were on track for this time of year. However, when I walk through our snowless gardens (which is quite strange mid-February) I see otherwise. I notice numerous plants wanting to start their season, and that birds which don’t usually arrive until later on are already here. It is somewhat worrisome to see the blackberries sending out leaves, blueberry buds swelling, and jays, woodpeckers, chickadees, and robins cleaning up after winter’s rough onslaught. The worrying sticks with me as I think that we could still get another blast of cold before the new season really begins, and that those seemingly premature leaves and buds could suffer some real damage. And, the worrying part also sticks with me when I think we might be bearing witness to the reality of a changing climate.
Gardening and farming, for the love of it or for commercial purposes, seems to beget worry. I grew up on a farm and the affect of nature’s wily ways is in my blood. How cold will it get? Will there be enough snow to provide some winter cover? Will there be enough rain? At the right time? Damn, too much rain! Drought, excess moisture, hail, insects, too hot, too cold. All of these factors are at play, except when nature’s forces tread softly on the land and give us near perfect, or at the very least, satisfactory growing conditions. This happens too. Thankfully. Joyously.
At the beginning of each growing season I can only hope that the upcoming one will be as good as the last. The rewards that come from working a plot of land (no matter how small or large) that offers both beauty and bounty go hand-in-hand with good stewardship. If we are indeed bearing witness to a changing climate, I expect that we will be compelled to become attentive and responsible in more ways than we already know.
Is it too early to say “happy spring”?