Rejoice! (part 1)
The earth moved this morning and the sun illuminated a corner of the summerhouse. I sat at the cast-iron table in warm sunshine and drank coffee. A friend came for lunch. We both sat at the cast-iron table and drank wine. The dog asked to have her sunbed placed on the steps, and lounged there - not yet panting, but certainly basking.
There is still snow on the hills, a small patch on the northern face, but still snow, still white and gleaming, still just sitting there, refusing to melt. Old wives' tales have it that when snow lies more will come to take it away.
Oh, please - no more.
It's been tough in Middle England, with impacted ice and snow up to the dog's chin. I've plodded around with the old ski poles and a son's huge snowboots - refusing to buy my own because I don't believe it will last more than a day or two.
Then, after a day or two, learning to be thankful that I have everything I need within plodding, skidding distance.
Appreciating the neighbours, all of us looking out for one another.
Loving the stillness, the peace, the traffic-free roads.
Then today, warmth came back, not creeping, but leaping so that infant daffodils reached out to it and the camellia creaked open its first flower.
Rejoice! (part 2)
The tool shed, normally overflowing with a clutter of metalware, is empty of almost everything but sunshine.
I have three garden forks, small, medium and large, two spades, a few assorted rakes and hoes, a lopper, a blower, a sucker, a mower. I have lots of hand-tools and a cache of things to hold up other things.
And all the rest, all the duplicated, inherited spades and forks and hoes and rakes and shears, have been oiled and cleaned and sharpened and have gone to my son and his girl-friend for their first 'allotment'.
I was introduced to the allotment this weekend. It has soil like rich chocolate cake and it has none of the choking, strangling weeds so prevelant in my own garden. The allotment has been loved and fed. My son and his partner are lucky first-time gardeners.
Allotments are special places for enthusiasts, for the inventive and the enterprising. They are the epitomy of recycling, where old carpets suppress weeds, black plastic sheets warm the soil and old plastic bottles make mini-propagators.Wheelbarrows and know-how are shared. On this allotment site there is a shop, supplying seeds and well-rotted manure as well as knowledge.
My son and his partner are already enthusiasts, and they have yet to plant their first potato.
I rejoice that the gardening gene, for so long embedded in my ancestors and me, has surfaced in one of my sons.
I rejoice that my parents' gardening tools will be handled by the next generation, and that E. and S. will learn from the soil and the weather, the rabbits and the caterpillars as people have done throughout time. I specifically rejoice in the knowledge that their rich soil will bring forth abundance - and no spuds will ever have tasted as good!