Spring! Still!

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Well, unlike before, typepad has been working just fine, and so have I…just not in front of the computer! We have been busy for the last week, starting off with the visit from Coop and Meg and baby Jack (pictures above) a long weekend during the middle of the week in Raleigh with Mom and friends, putting in our garden (!) and finally, driving to DC to see Radiohead in something resembling a hurricane on Sunday evening. Between being out of town and fitfully playing catch up in the following days, I don’t think that I was home for a full evening for over a week. This week, on the other hand, is moving at a delightfully slow and cool pace.

On our walk this past Saturday, Mom and I were both wearing long sleeves and taking pleasure in the leisurely Spring that we’ve had this year. It’s been all of the things that Spring should be–pops of hot days, lots and lots of rain, a slow and steady bloom of all things green and colorful and cool nights and mornings. There have been the occasional 80 degree days here and there, but I like to think of those days as reinforcing the optimistic nature of Spring and preparing us for the days to come. (As an aside, I remember a friend of Mom’s who was more likely to don a fur than find herself out of air conditioning visiting Virginia and stepping in from outside exclaiming, “It’s hotter’n the hinges of hell out there!”. I was about 8 or 9 at the time and just loved that expression–I knew that it was slightly inappropriate, but just safe enough to get away with saying at my young age. Now all I can think about is the vision of my eight-year-old self trying that expression out on my friends and waving my hands around as if there were fake red nails dangling from them and a live oak in the front yard. Clearly All Grown Up.) While I’m sure that Summer must just be around the corner, I could stay in this lovely limbo for many months to come.

Drew has built us the most wonderful “patio” area in our back yard–the yard is filled with two big maples (a silver and a sugar, I believe, though don’t hold me to it) and so we are relishing the cool place to sit in the afternoons, and once the chill is out of the air, in the mornings too. The yard is on a slope, so Drew cut out and built up and great level area for a table and four chairs and then Mom and I popped in all of the shade-happy plants to fill in his frame work. We also dug a bunch of ferns from Nelson County this past weekend, and the old green-thumb himself planted them while I was at work on Monday.

Our garden? Our garden is really a lot like Grace. Adorable, oddly shaped, rife with personality and quickly coming to be our third baby. Every morning and night we run out to see what’s been growing (the zucchini has doubled! The onions are sprouting! One of the tomatoes grew an inch!) and to talk very seriously about progress. Our garden is a perfect square (8′ x 8′) and we have packed it chock full–we will have to start eating collards ASAP to make sure that the tomatoes are happy as everything grows in, but I think that we’ll be able to manage it. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I aspire towards a lilly and tomato garden one day, and so we have four varieties (1 each, big time.) of heirloom tomatoes, and while the lillies won’t make it in the garden space, they are going on the side of the house, so I’m on my way. Seasoned gardeners would stand back and shake their heads at the silly kids, but I can’t be bothered with worrying about being cool, I’ve got dirt to get out from under my fingernails, and dill seeds to will into sprouting!

When I spoke with my stepmother Ruth on Sunday (Happy Mother’s Day, Moms!) she mentioned that it seems that a lot more people are putting in their very first vegetable garden this year, judging by the traffic at the cool garden center where she works. While I’m hardly a fatalist, I can’t help but think that people are thinking in the back of their minds about all of the what-ifs that an oil crisis can bring up, and having a little plot that one can confidently grow is no small thing. I think too that the Baby Boomers are hitting retirement and their yards, so there’s probably some kind of mix there, but it’s an interesting phenomenon nonetheless. For me personally, I have always been surrounded by things that grow and the people that make growing them appear effortless, and so finally being able to weave my own plot feels like yet another right of passage. Look Mom, I’m growing vegetables! For someone like my dad who has harvested thousands of vegetables, and probably helped to feed almost as many people, Drew and I are still in our playpen, so to speak, but every beginning is just as essential and sweet as whatever it may come to be, if not as fruitful, so I am just thrilled.

Guess what? I imagine that you will hear about this more than once in the coming weeks! What can I say? I’m like a new Mom assuming that no one before me has ever experienced the joy that is playing with my new baby.
Cheers!

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