The temperature rose to almost freezing point today. The sky was clear, the sun positively warm, and the light on the snow was dazzling. It was enough to make me think that just maybe spring might come after all. After a month of -30 and more, it was a welcome relief.
So I celebrated by ordering my seeds for the garden. I already have a lot of the seeds I need, gleaned from last year's harvest, but I like to try new things occasionally too. This year I'm introducing Crystal Apple white cucumbers, golden beets, and Snow Cap beans to the usual mix. I love to prowl www.rareseeds.com (Baker Creek Seeds) because they have such a range of unusual things available, they include fascinating histories of each seed, and the photos are absolutely beautiful. You want to lick the computer screen, their fruits and vegetables look so good. I study my garden and draw plan after plan, deciding how best to squeeze everything in, not wasting an inch.
I'm also getting ready to start trays on my counter under the grow lights. It's too early for the vegetable starts for the garden, but I want to start some lettuce just for indoors. I want to smell moist earth and bite into lettuce that is so fresh it's still breathing. (If you haven't ever tried that, try it. Put fresh-cut lettuce in a plastic bag and close it tightly with the air forced out of the bag. In a little while you'll find the bag tight full of air again as the plants respirate.) Now that's fresh! And just a tiny bit disturbing, to remember that we are eating a living thing. I remember a quote I read once, about how to you it's just an apple, but to the tree, it's a child. It reminds us not to waste a single bit, to appreciate and give thanks, and to be more cognizant of our place in the world of living things.
I sort the packets of last year's seeds and run my fingers through the cheerfully-coloured beans and feel as if I'm reconnecting with old friends. I can't wait to get my hands dirty.