Winter’s back is broken here. We could get a late, March snowstorm, but the likelihood that we will be ice-bound and house-bound because of it diminishes with each day that temperatures are above 50 degrees. The earth is warming. Owls croon for their mates both day and night. Lone hawks on the neighborhood thermals are replaced by hunting pairs who call to each other with new, low guttural sounds. The Dianthus under the blueberries, sturdy survivors of repeated hard freezes, burst with magenta blossoms. Bluets peek out from under spring-green wild onions and chickweed. And I am planting peas.
Give me any week of sunny and warmer weather in February, and I am drawn to my garden like the moth to the flame, pea seeds and soil inoculant in hand, ready to open a trench and settle each wizened, wrinkled seed into its own spot in the earth. I cover each seed with a handful of dark loam, pat it gently, and sit back on my heels to await the miracle.
This year will be different, I’m sure of it! There won’t be last year’s flooding rain, 5 inches in two hours, that washed seeds out of the soil before they ever sprouted. Or an April heat wave to bake flowers off the replanted peas just as they begin to open. And I’m certain that we won’t have a return of the previous year’s Easter freeze – the one that killed not only peas, but every peach blossom for a hundred miles around me.
I know that the new, stronger electric fence charger will keep the rabbits out of the garden, so they can’t eat each pea shoot as it emerges from the ground. And the soap bars, hair, and coyote urine now deployed on the garden perimeter will repel any neighborhood deer that think peas only two days short of being ready to pick are delicious.
And I’m equally sure that this year, Charlie Brown’s kite will fly unimpeded by the kite-eating tree, and that Lucy will not pull the football away. I am a gardener, after all!