I tried to garden, really. I put on my water repellent coat, rubber boots, and a stunningly unflattering baseball cap that has seen much better days. Nothing could stop me from my attack on the winter dregs in the garden. And I have it on good authority that despite the freezing temperatures and sleety rains, spring will come.
I intended to be ready.
But so far, there is nary a hint of that gentle season. I saw one bee a week ago when the temperatures reached moderately sub-arctic for eleven minutes. My daffodils are sad, stunted little things that sit in the cold mud with no blooms in sight. I can just hear the old daffy-down-dillies telling the little narcissi about the good old days when a hard-working bulb could bloom in February. In those times, when spring came on schedule, there used to be dances of daffodils across the garden; they were the golden envy of all the weaker flowers.
Not any more.
Today, the temperature hit 42 degrees (is this a cosmic reminder of the meaning of life?) so I trudged out to the mudflats once again. My boots squished through sodden grass that lay limp and beaten in the once proud lawn. The rolling clouds above had become choky, grey cotton. The air taunted me with that cool, humid, we-can-turn-your-lungs-into-moss-and- sprout-ferns-from-your-ears kind of morning.
My dogs, who see all weather as a chance for an insane frolic, galloped through the grass and churned up the pond. With a sigh of martyrdom, I got down on my knees and began decimating the 4,921,780,206 buttercups currently invading my garden.
And then a change – the rain started, a soft, drippy cold that ran down my nose and muddied up my fingers. When I looked measuringly at the sky, rivulets streamed over my cheeks.
I can do this, I told myself. It’s only a little water.
But then it became a lot of water. Monsoon level water, blowing nearly sideways in the spring “breeze.” It drove down my neck, flowed into my sleeves, sloshed up my pant legs.
And my dogs sat beside me, fur plastered like a gelled-up teen, brown eyes begging. They would not abandon me to die in the cold cruel world, but their pleading eyes kept shifting toward the house – the warm, dry house.
It was for the dogs. I am a dedicated gardener and would have simply laughed off being battered to pulp by the elements. But my devoted dogs…I gave it up for them.
And now we are toweled, treated and cozied up. Let the weeds sit out there in the mud and freeze their little roots off.
Spring will come back to us – someday. And I’ll be ready.