Sunday, April 6, 2008

Cliff Hangers and Heirloom Tomatoes

Today, as I puttered about in (what I euphemistically call) my garden, it occurred to me that fall is the ultimate cliff hanger. Last October I mulched and covered and raked and babied the asparagus, blueberries, raspberries, and lone little peach tree. Then came winter. It rained, and snowed, and froze, and thawed. And snowed some more.
It felt like the end of the season of a really tasty TV show; I was left with reruns and good memories for months on end, until the show resumes next season.
I enjoyed my reruns, and loved every drop of home-canned salsa, tomato sauce, and pickled beets. Now I'm ready for the new season. Who will star this year? The heirloom seeds special-ordered from Iowa and Pennsylvania? Or the old flower seeds gathered from my last garden in Berkeley before leaving in 1999 (and not planted until now)?
Will the raspberries remain sad, plain little sticks guarded by chicken wire or will they burst forth, grow tall and produce zillions of berries? Will the asapargus rise from the depths where it has been patiently waiting all winter? The tulips, the irisis and the day lilies are coming back - their green tips are bursting out of the ground even as we speak. Ooooh! What will happen? I can hardly wait!
Thus inspired, I went searching for a poem about spring. I stopped when I found this one. Nope, it's not about spring. But it has a dog, and great big snowflakes. And that, dear reader, is more than enough for me!
Snow, Aldo
by Kate DiCamillo.

Once, I was in New York,
in Central Park, and I saw
an old man in a black overcoat walking
a black dog. This was springtime
and the trees were still
bare and the sky was
gray and low and it began, suddenly,
to snow:
big fat flakes
that twirled and landed on the
black of the man's overcoat and
the black dog's fur. The dog
lifted his face and stared
up at the sky. The man looked
up, too. "Snow, Aldo," he said to the dog,
"snow." And he laughed.
The dog looked
at him and wagged his tail.
If I was in charge of making
snow globes, this is what I would put inside:
the old man in the black overcoat,
the black dog,
two friends with their faces turned up to the sky
as if they were receiving a blessing,
as if they were being blessed together
by something
as simple as snow
in March.

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