This Good Earth
Helen Hayes once said, “All through the long winter, I dream of my garden. On the first day of spring, I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth. I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar.” On this May Day I find myself appreciating such thoughts. One can handle only so much politics without a bit of a break. The poisonous nature of political bloodsport really takes a toll on you if you spend too long soaking in it. That’s why this week I decided to turn off CNN for a while and flee to my back yard.
We’ve been tending to the annual spring chores – raking up those leaves that somehow land after the snows come, clearing dead or intrustive brush, trimming hedges neatly, mowing the first new surges of grass. We also do a bit of planting. This year I put in some peas. Much like Ms. Hayes, I find something invariably rewarding and uplifting about digging into the rich, black soil after it thaws from the winter and placing seeds and fertilizer in it. I love fresh, raw peas straight out of the garden. I’m not sure why, but I never eat cooked peas or canned peas. Give me some pods straight off the bush, however, and I wolf them down like candy.
Of course, the fact is that the local rabbits will likely wipe out much of my labor before I ever get to eat a single one. (My basset hound is old and rather lazy – the rabbits generally have the run of the yard.) It doesn’t matter, though. We won’t starve to death for lack of fresh peas, and the reward of the planting process itself is still worth the effort.
So, if the endless campaign is beginning to get you down, just remember that spring has sprung. Even if you’ve never done it before, go outside and plant something and take some time out to watch it grow now and again. Even if you live in an apartment in the city with no access to garden space, grab yourself a window box! They’re cheap, as is potting soil and seeds. And who knows? If this food shortage thing really takes off you might appreciate some extra greens this summer.