Tuesday, August 4, 2009 @ 23:43:15
The Long Weekend
Spring is like the six o'clock hour on Friday evenings.
Much like the joyous burst of freedom that comes from the end of the work week and the anticipation of an unknown weekend with infinite possibilities, spring is redolent with the future, with growth, and with the promise of unfurling and youthful abundance.
This must be why, every year, we plant. Every spring we plan our masterpiece - the perfect garden, the gorgeous flowers, and the well-tended beds. We visit the big box stores to inhale the earthy scent of mulch, peruse the local nurseries for the most stunning plants, and envision the transformation of the wintry landscape into a private oasis - a sanctuary of green. This year will finally be the year that our yard wins awards and our organic garden produces obscene abundance that will turn our kitchen into a farmers market. We will fill the house with our own bouquets of flowers and create delectable dishes every night with the freshest produce.
Then Saturday arrives.
It arrives with thunder and announces the hot and sweaty work to be done. The tilling, the digging, the planting. The leveling, the trimming, the weed-whacking. Cool and misty spring afternoons give way to steamy and oppressive summer days and evenings that provide no respite from the heat. In fact, they offer creepy-crawlies and heebie-jeebies from the sudden and light scampering across your leg that makes you jump and curse. They offer obligation, routine, and honey-do lists at the very moments when impromptu dips in the lake and lost afternoons in the hammock with a good novel are the most tempting. The best and most ambitious intentions surrender to the seduction of the still and serene.
Saturday evening, and the weeds creep in.
Cucumbers proliferate like rabbits, and pickles need canning. Tomatoes cover the countertops like tribbles, and it's time to make sauce. Forgotten seedlings live, die, and are reborn as volunteers in odd corners of the yard. Birds and field mice frolic in their good fortune. Grapes pull down their supports with the weight of their bountiful fruit, and still, the weeds march.
The passage of time speeds. Sunday morning turns into Sunday afternoon and Sunday evening in an instant.
We think of all that we planned that has not yet come to pass, and know that it must wait for another season, if it comes at all. It is a reminder that we have settled at times, that the fruit borne could have been larger, that our landscaping could have been neater, and that our flowers could have smelled sweeter.
Then we recall sunset walks through the garden, walking hand-in-hand as we inhaled the scent of fragrant basil and felt the brush of tomato fur. We remember lazy summer days on the lake with the sun glinting off the water, books in which we explored hidden worlds, days in the park with the dogs as they age and calm, and naps set to the hypnotic trance of Bob Ross reruns. We treasure afternoons in the kitchen slicing tomatoes and being amazed by the flavor of freshness and life energy from vegetables still warm from the sun.
That's what I will choose to remember on Monday morning, weeds be damned.