“Were you stalking birds?” Ben asked when I came inside from some chore.
Um. Yes. I did, in fact, stalk a pair of ruby-crowned kinglets across the yard. I also caught two toads and watched a lizard explore the porch and did yoga in the middle of weeding some spinach as an excuse to lay belly-down in the soil and get a worm’s eye view of the field.
I’m a 13 year old boy on the inside, and this is my favorite time of year—there’s so much to discover in ground I thought I knew well. I got so lost in the gloom of February and March that I forgot the thrill of April and May, when the world goes wild with growth. A friend described the season as violent—I disagreed at first, but then I realized April is nature’s Black Friday, mobs and accidental deaths and all. Except instead of deals on HD LCD 3D TVs, the prizes are survival and generation. (Maybe a little more important than a HD LCD 3D TV.)
The fields are changing so quickly. I’ve caught myself several times, startled into gleeful laughter, by the field behind the high tunnel. It’s the closest to the house, and arguably has undergone the most drastic transformation. It’s the same field in which the onions from the planting party went—if you were there, you’ll remember that the onions were really the only thing there at the time, and they were just tiny slips of green against the soil. Day by day, we seeded and planted that acre, and now I’m overwhelmed by the sum of our labor. Sometimes a little bit literally, as we deal with the weeds.
I think I’m more moved than usual by this growth because I had such a part in it. I always love spring, especially in North Carolina, but owning a little bit of those lovely green rows through my time and effort—making soil blocks, seeding, watering flats, transplanting—makes it even sweeter.
It makes me think of a hymn I loved to sing at Mass, based on a poem by St. Francis of Assisi—the Canticle of the Sun—which just summarizes perfectly the interdependence of the nature and humanity upon it. The explosive growth, the smells, the animals come to life all over again—I can’t get enough of this season.
And I’ve hardly even eaten anything out of that field, yet, because most of it is still sizing up, not quite ready to be consumed. My joy is all aesthetic, at this point, just a sense of triumph over space and environment and self. But there’s radishes and lettuce and spinach and arugula and about a hundred other things, it seems, making leaps and bounds towards my plate (and probably yours).
Speaking of, there’s been plenty of work. We’re doing a lot of transplanting and weeding. Tomatoes, cucumbers and squash are going into the ground, and sometimes I wake up from dreams of cool tomatoes and sweet cucumbers. At the moment, though, it’s time to get back to work. Enjoy some photos, and I hope the spring weather is treating you as well as it is me!