Even as early as February, back-yard gardens across the country are being worked. Beds are cleared, disked, tilled. Hot beds are seeded. Fences are mended, turned up rocks are removed, and the garden is set to go.
And then spring rains come.
Just about the time those seeds you planted too early start sprouting, you can’t step foot in the garden. That fertile soil that we just tilled at 8-12 inches deep is now a layer of mud of the same thickness. One step inside the fence, and you’re likely to loose your rubber boots. (Kiss those garden clogs goodbye.)
So, while it rains, we stand at the eastern windows and peek out at the garden, waiting. Waiting for the rain to stop, waiting for Spring to get here, waiting for a harvest that’s weeks or months away.
When the rain breaks, we walk around the outside of the fence, peeking at tiny sprouts breaking through, marking each puddle within the boundaries as low spots in the garden.
Even after the rain stops, the waiting continues. The ground is saturated and sticky, and until it dries, anything that comes in contact with it will compact it hard as a rock, or carry it out of the garden, across the yard, into the tool shed, into the house.
Things are growing out there; in the garden, in the rain. Things I want to see, watch, nurture and talk to. (Things I want to eat.) But a garden, more than most projects, teaches patience. You cannot make the rain stop, the ground dry, the seed germinate and grow.
And so, on this rainy day, we stand at the eastern windows and wait.