This weather. This time of year. This last of February.
There have been a few snow flurries in the last week. There has been ice on the car every morning. Frost on the ground. Anguish and impatience in our hearts.
We persevere, though. We carry on!
We make sure to focus on the patch of daffodils growing out by the barn. We remind ourselves over and over that, meteorologically speaking, spring begins on March 1st. A mere two days away! We are imbued with renewed optimism and enthusiasm!
We count down the weeks until our last frost date and we do the math and decide to start some seeds. They will live by the window for the next six to eight weeks, and we will take the utmost care of them. Daily spritzing of water and rotating of trays. Monthly feeding of liquid fish meal, even though it smells bad and our family complains. Nothing is too good for these seedlings, these little manifestations of hope and future and life.
We plant sweet bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, basil, strawberries and six different kinds of tomatoes. We want to plant everything, the melons and cucumbers and beans, but we know those do better when we wait and sow outside. So we resist. Barely. But then we start to worry that we didn’t sow enough of the other things, that we will be sorely lacking in tomatoes and lettuce this summer.
We plant more of everything just to be safe.
We check them daily, hourly, to see if any stir, stretching upward from the dirt. We worry that our children will try to help and overwater them, or that the cats will eat them just as they put out their true leaves. We softly blow on them to make them stronger, we look up folk remedies to stop them from damping off. We crow with pride at their growth, as if we were solely responsible.
Our speech becomes a little florid, our thoughts a little overblown, where the seeds are concerned. Our husbands roll their eyes and our friends nod politely but absently when we start talking about heat mats and grow lights and potting up and hardening off. We know, but we don’t care.
We are pure patience and magnanimity, as long as the calendar turns from winter and the seedlings grow.