My hands dig deep into the black and sweet-smelling soil, turning it over, letting it crumble back down into the garden between my fingers. Two honey bees buzz gently beside my left ear, searching for the source of that first spring nectar. They don’t bother with me there beside them, on my knees, my head bent in concentration. Spring is in full swing, and the honey bees are just as glad to be outside as I am.
The warm end of April sun touches down on my shoulders, on my hands,on my hair. Overhead, birds of all different shapes, sizes and colours fly, twittering excitedly as they search for the foods of spring, a nest-building place, a mate for the season.
Lovingly I bury the baby tomato plants in the newly dug soil. I adore their slightly peppery smell and the way their leaves reach for me with their finger-like ends. Although the tomato plants are too young yet to have blossoms, the same two honey bees drone closer, scenting the air, knowing that soon these tiny plants will provide them with one of their favourite kinds of nectar.
I finish the rows of tomato plants and get up. The dogs, who have been lying just at the very edge of the vegetable garden, also rise. They start to get excited. Will we go see the animals now? Perhaps go to the shop for more tools?
I am so happy. Spring is one of my favourite seasons and once the holiday season and winter solstice have been celebrated I begin looking forward to when spring will arrive again. Spring, with its warm sun, gentle rain, new growth, and baby goats. Spring is the time when I feel a real lust for life, wanting nothing more than to be outside, digging, planting, mulching, petting animals, laughing at baby goats and baby pigs.
I turn to look for the dogs. Their barks are fainter now, leading away from me and my beautiful, fresh, lusty garden. The wind kicks up and suddenly gets stronger. Something cold and wet hits me in my right eye, making it water. The sun leaves, hiding behind clouds that have gone from perfectly fluffy white to see-through wintery grey.
Several more snowflakes hit my face with real force as I turn to call the dogs away from the barn and back to the warmth of the house with its pot of tea steeping on the back of the stove, shelves of books still waiting to be read under warm woolly blankets on the couch, and the wood fire crackling merrily downstairs in our basement, keeping the floors of the small farmhouse toasty warm.
My daydream is over and it’s still winter, still January, still white and cold and frozen, and my perfect and beautiful garden is hidden away under several feet of snow. My tomato plants are still tiny seeds, waiting for me to plant them in tiny peat pots and then letting them grow in the kitchen windowsill for several weeks till it’s safe to put them outside. I have an entire basket filled with seeds ready to plant, also waiting, hoping to be put in the ground soon once the sun is out and the weather is warm. The honey bees too, are tucked away in their hives in the maple bush, waiting for milder weather to come, to help me celebrate very soon, the lust for life when it begins all over again.