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March 9, 2005
I know there are snowdrops under there because I saw them. And our crocuses are up, because I saw them, too, before the snow. I know there are daffodils under the evergreen boughs out front in the new bed I dug last fall, because I saw them before I put the boughs down. So everything is still there.

So, although the world is white again this morning and the weather people say we will have more snow and very low temperatures all this week, I am not thinking about that. I am thinking about manure, about when I might make a run down to the farm where Leo lives and harvest some of what he and his colleagues have been producing so efficiently all winter. I imagine the great feedbags of it, mixed with straw, warm with the chemistry of its own rotting, riding home with me in the trunk of the car, maybe also in the back seat. The smell of horse manure is among the loveliest of the world's smells. If it were a perfume I would wear it, and I would always get a seat on the train.

And the house is different inside, too. Pots of dirt tightly covered with plastic bags are everywhere, the inside of the plastic beaded with moisture: seeds waking to a new morning. Tomatoes, marigolds, dahlias, chamomile. Basil is ordered, and parsley, and stubborn lavender, which takes forever to get going but is worth every week of the wait. Unsure of what the forsythia will be like this spring after our pruning frenzy last year, we have not brought any in for forcing into early bloom inside. But Sally arrived with a bunch of pregnant branches from her bushes, and they sit now on the table in front of our fireplace, warm and watered, scarcely able to believe their good fortune.

Next week: North Carolina. Where the daffodils will be in bloom and maybe even the tulips. Where the hellebores might even be over by now. Where there will be magnolias and, perhaps, azaleas. Where the lavender blossoms will be plump and purpling on their grey-green stalks. And, when I return after only a day, I will see changes in the plant life here: fat buds on the trees, some of them turning bright red before they plunge to the ground and form pools of red along the side of the road.

This is a time of rapid change. There's no other way to live on the earth besides this one: riding the changes, learning that you can't fend them off, no matter what you do. Learning to greet them with an expectation willing to morph into hope just as soon as it becomes possible.
Copyright © 2022 Barbara Crafton
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