Where there was a raised path, there now is a trench. When the ground was soft and green, the path seemed alright, but ice and rain show how the land lies. In this case, it lies low against the basement window. There are worse ways to learn than by getting things wrong.
It is nice to get your hands and feet in the ground in the ground again, no matter what the reason. I like to think about Antaeus, who compelled every stranger who passed to wrestle him and whose strength was renewed whenever he touched the earth. One character or another said that Dr. Zhivago was like Antaeus, but I can't remember who or if they were right.
This week I clipped apple branches and brought them inside to see if they will blossom. I clipped black currant branches and stuck them in the ground to see if they will root. Uncertainty is a part of the deal and is part of what makes the garden good. Not all the ground was thawed enough for the black currant branches- plenty of patches were frozen just below the surface.
We'll be away for a week, and I hope when we get back the ground will be soft everywhere. Not for working, just for walking.
There are lots of good ways to live, and that's a nice thing. In warm places, winter is pleasant because everyone is still outside, there are greens in the garden, and there's heat to the sun. But I love winter here, too.
One of the best things about a cold-place winter is that it ends. The melting has started, here, and everyday I've been stomping around my yard seeing what's there. Last fall, I overwintered the kale by laying it flat and covering with oak leaves- it seems to be doing fine. The parsley under leaves seems pretty happy, too, but I'm not sure if that's because this variety (einfache schnitt 3) is hardier than the one I've grown before or because this was a milder winter. I'd rather think it was the good seeds.
Last year I overwintered four fig plants. This year I overwintered two. They're still dormant, and nights are warm enough to keep them outside. I brought them out two days ago, and the rabbits have already taken their share, but I'm feeling optimistic about the figs. It's easy to be optimistic when something's just beginning. I wish I had kept all four. Right now, it seems like there's room for everything.
The pomegranates aren't dormant. They started sprouting in the basement and are growing pretty happily, now, in a sunny window. They looked so ugly when they arrived in last fall, I didn't think they'd amount to anything; they had hardly any roots and were ready to give up for the year. They've surprised me. I've been surprised a lot this year, and that's something I'm grateful for.
Last year, I planted lots of flowers and grasses. I can't remember what. Some of it's written in a notebook, but most of it wasn't. I don't know what any of it will look like, and some things are probably all wrong (did really I plant senna hebecarpa in the front yard?) All the better.
All the better.