Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Promise of A Seed Catalog

            It’s that time of year again – it’s time to plan the garden!  Several weeks ago I ordered catalogs.  I couldn’t wait any longer.  The snow keeps piling up and there’s something about a vegetable and flower catalog that brings hope before you even open the cover.  The bright photos of peas, carrots and tomatoes evoke mornings of patient weeding, with a break on the porch and the transplanting of flowers along the house or in containers in the afternoon.  I think of ice tea and porches and waving to neighbors and listening to the neighborhood children ride their bicycles up and down the block.  A seed catalog brings back my sanity at a time when I think I could forget that the sun will ever warm me again.

            I love gardening.  I am by no means an expert.  No, I am a trial and error girl and I try to remember my Dad’s garden.  He died about a year after I decided I actually didn’t mind weeding when it was MY garden and not a chore but a means of escape from being anything – a mom, a lover, an employee, a bread winner, a daughter, a friend.  I had so looked forward to discussing the garden with him, possibly trading plants or vegetables.  But then he was gone. 

             I garden now still as an escape, but I also feel my Dad with me then.  There are times when I’m out in the soil, with the sun beating down on me, and I wonder about something as my mind opens, whether it has to do with gardening or some other conundrum, and I think that I’ll give him a call when I’m done.  Not a second later I realize with a twist in my gut that I can’t.  It’s been nearly fifteen years and I still can’t believe he’s gone.  And I can’t believe he left before I could be a full-fledged adult child, so that we could talk and understand each other on the same level.  I was an adult when he passed away, but I was still in the stage where my parent’s really had no clue about what they were talking about when it came to me and my life.  

            I do talk to my Dad out there, and I believe he listens to me.  I believe he would be proud of the way I’ve taught myself and others around me in regards to plants and sunlight and where to plant and near what other veggies or flowers. 

            I lost my Dad on the first day of spring, 2000.  Every year since, sometime in May, I get him back for the summer.  I know he would love our garlic, that we planted it at all and just tried it out would have pleased him.  Cooking with it would have given him great satisfaction.  I like to think, that if he was alive today, that he would be satisfied with me, too.  I like to think my gardening would have made him proud and that he would come over just to walk in my little gardens and sit on the porch and watch my birds and listen to the water falling in our homemade pond.  I like to think our talks would start with seeds, move on to soil and plants and then grow a little deeper.  I like to think that just as my garden grows, so would my knowledge of my dad and he of me. 

            I look forward to receiving the seed catalogs every year.  They promise more than just beautiful vegetables and flowers.  They promise hope and hard work, ideas and memories; and for me especially, they promise that my father will be with me once again, guiding me through my hands and heart.

            I can’t wait dad.  I can’t wait.