Saturday, March 19

...And An Old Man's Fancy Turns To Thoughts Of Patio Furniture Maintenance

Two days of sun, Thursday and Friday, and I had the time to get out into the garden. Always reminds me of the far-off days of USENET, when a friend of mine from one of the boards emailed me one mid-January. "I was cutting flowers this morning. What are *you* doing?" "I'm dreaming of next year's garden. Wanna trade? I don't."

I lived for awhile in one of those places where the weather is always "nice". I'm not too partial to "nice", and certainly not as a steady diet. Give me a hike in an all-day downpour, falling in the mud going upslope. Gimme a trek up Pearl Ravine at Shades State Park, up the long narrow rivulet of freezing water slipping over rounded stones, with ice hanging from every tree. There'll be fun enough to be had when the sun's beating down in June. When everybody's forgotten all about winter, and started complaining about the humidity.

I like cold weather. There's usually about three weeks too much of it around here for my tastes, but that's a blessing. It makes those first uncertain days of sun when it warms you like you're feeling it through a window just that much better. There are tiny spots of green throughout the herb bed, and the cats have found the suggestion of valerian under the mulch and gone nuts rolling on it. They don't care for it once it's big enough to spot across the bed. The old reliable catbird was off in the wilderness out back doing vocal gymnastics, and the maniac-on-the-loose calls of a yellow shafted flicker that's adopted the near-dead red maple in the front yard are really its love song. Got my fingers crossed that it'll nest there this year. It's been a banner year for crocuses; stayed cold enough that some are a month old by now. And the familiar garden dramas--the wrestling match between the early rising, peripatetic blue rye and the groggy but muscular fountain grass which sleep side by side, or the barrenwort vs. deadnettle battle of the groundcovers under the big elm--all come back to you after you'd forgotten them with the snow.

I don't pity you folks who can go to the beach everyday. I just wonder if you know what you're missing.

2 comments:

Chris Clarke said...

What, is Turkey Run too trendy for ya?

Having lived in Northern California and Buffalo, I think I've paid my cold-weather dues. It's not always "nice" here - it's miserably drizerable right now - but I can always spend the better part of a day outside if I need to. That's crucial to me these days.

doghouse riley said...

Damn, you have put some wear on those boots, haven't you? Turkey Run's the Queen of the Indiana park system, for hiking at least (Dunes is pretty great too), but the hike up (never down) Pearl Ravine is my favorite trail, provided you survive the homicidal-maniac-designed stairs with the 2" treads you have to negotiate to get down there.