Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday's Words for March 30, 2011

If any country or people deserves the title of “those with the most convenient memory”, I think it should be Canada and Canadians.

Canada gets more snow on average than any other country on earth. We quite often get snow in March, April and occasionally, even in May.

For as long as I can recall, we never, ever planted our gardens before the Victoria Day (May 24th) weekend, because to do so before that date was to risk frost or snow damage.

Yet every year we forget all this, and find ourselves griping when—as happened last Wednesday—Mother Nature gives us a new dumping of snow smack dab in the middle of March.

We got more than six inches here that day, and that was before 6 a.m.!

We need to be reminded of a few salient facts about winter (and why I personally consider winter to run October to March inclusive), especially winter in the northern half of the continent. And right about now, we need to recall that we in this country generally get one third of our total snowfall for the year in March.

Acknowledging these facts doesn’t, of course, make the reality of that white stuff on the ground outside my window any easier to take. Nor does it warm body and soul when the thermometer insists on staying below the freezing mark.

I had such great plans for spring. The temperatures had been warming, the snow had all melted, and I began, once again, to yearn for the sight of flowers in my yard.
Of course, I’d have to plant them, first. The bulbs my daughter and grandkids put in more than a year ago failed to come up last spring. The lily of the valley bulbs I bought this past October to go into the ground the beginning of November, some unknown person accidentally put on top of the toaster over before turning the toaster oven on.

I’d left them in the kitchen, you see, near the back door, hoping that someone would take the hint and plant the darn things.

Unfortunately I am at the mercy of others for this task, as my yard is too uneven, and too sloped for me to negotiate without the danger of falling.

Not all that many years ago, when I could get out and garden, I used to have at least one dream in the middle of every winter that I was doing just that. There’s something so intrinsically life-affirming about getting your hands into the soil, planting seeds or plants, and weeding a garden. Is there any greater luxury than going out to your garden, picking a fat, red juicy tomato, and making yourself a toasted tomato sandwich?

And what joy we would experience, when our veggies were ready to be picked, having a dinner of nothing but the fruits of our labor!

I know spring is coming, even if Environment Canada warns us this year that it will be later and cooler than normal. This yearning for the warmer, growing season, I believe, is just a part of nature’s cycle. We can’t help ourselves from craving it. We humans are part of the animal world, really, a part of nature, and it’s how we were made.

At least that’s what I tell myself when my desire for an end to winter gets a little frantic around the edges.


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