Winter swears, spring promises

Martha Muzychka
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Years ago, I came across a children’s book about a bunny who lived in a hollow tree. In about 100 words or so, this bunny embraced the seasons with joy and an open heart. Not surprisingly, the book with its lovely illustrations and its hopeful message quickly became a favourite.

Last week marked the first day of spring, and while we have had sunshine in abundance — reportedly more this year than last — it’s been a long winter, a very long, cold winter.

 I’m ready to be like that bunny, picking flowers and chasing butterflies in the spring, watching the birds in the summer, even blowing the dandelion seeds in the air to see which way the summer breeze is wandering.

But today, as I write this, I am like the bunny at the end of the book, watching the snow fall before curling up to dream about spring. I have no hollow tree, but I do have a comfy couch and I have seed catalogues galore.

These seed catalogues are a lifeline, a promise that summer will come, and those brown little kernels and nubs are evidence that summer was here, even though it seems forever since it was.

As I flick through the pages, the lushness of the herbs, the plump juiciness of the fruits, and the emerald hues of mesclun, kale, zucchini, and beans soothe in a way that my friends’ pictures of their mid-winter beach vacations do not.

It’s not that I am jealous of their holidays; more power to them for dreaming of a respite from cold, wet slush and snow.

No, the seed catalogues offer inspiration, even if I am only contemplating adding a second row of pots for the lettuce because I acquired a pallet that may turn into a hanging herb wall.

Or not.

The beauty of the seed catalogues and their promise of summer is that the planning offers a diversion. I’d rather be shovelling compost than snow; I’d prefer to be sprinkling lime and fertilizer than salt and kitty litter; I’d be more comfortable in shorts and tees than snow boots and winter jackets.

The promise of summer is the promise of light. Though the days have been growing longer, I’ve been craving the light that comes from blue and green and gold than the light that comes from seemingly endless white snow and ice and grey skies.

The weather gods may play with us for March and April, but underneath that slowly shrinking drifts of snow are tulips, crocuses, and tiny perfect grape hyacinths waiting to bloom.

It may be later than the rest of Canada, and indeed most of North America, but they will bloom.

Martha Muzychka is a writer and consultant working in St. John’s. Email:

Geographic location: Canada, North America

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