Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Beginning

There is a holy day lost in the endlessness of days. That day, whether with a mid-winter thaw or the sudden realization that the days are getting longer, when the spring becomes possible. With the thaw that came this January, I suddenly woke to gardening.

Like all holy days that come from a true craving in the human spirit, this implaceable day when winter begets spring is still marked. Groundhog day, though perhaps only marked by the occasional child who longs for more snow days, still reminds us that spring has infiltrated winter. Purim, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the queen Esther bringing hope back to her people who could see nothing but annihilation ahead of them, is the most festive and bacchanal of Jewish holidays - and it falls around this liminal time. In the old Western Euoprean world this holiday of the unquestionable advance of spring was called Imbolc.

It is with this holy day, lost between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, when the gardening year truly begins. Of course I have been pestering myself for weeks and weeks to start on my garden already, to make plans, to order seeds, but until that subtle day when spring breaks her first, premature smile, I am loathe to think of the garden. But once it comes and spring digs itself into me, I am infected. The gardening season has started.

No logic, no science can explain why it is that i garden. No science can hold the incredible miracle of a seed sprouting - a seed I planted in soil I prepared for it. While I claim idealistic and ideological reasons for gardening, the true reason is that I am in love with the inexplainable miracle of it all - the magic of warm soil, of a seed sprouting, and of that day in midwinter when it all infects me. I want to hold the awe of this reason for growing food - hold it and, without explaining it, acknowledge it, bow before it as my only reason (as unreasonable as that may be), and embody it in my writing.

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