In the very early hours of the morning, I sometimes take the dog into the back yard. Here the weather is predictably either rainy or sunny; but in the early morning, there is usually a low fog that settles all around. In the northeast—area of my childhood—where it snows relentlessly throughout the winter, the roads are often slick with ice making driving treacherous; in California’s central valley, it is the fog that causes accidents, shuts down the airport and suffocates people. It hovers close around us. I worked high up in a downtown building where the visibility was zero and the fog was ubiquitous. Even on the inside of those thick windows, there was a sense of uncomfortable closeness to the air. In the back yard, though, it feels cozy. I can’t see clearly more than 20 feet into the yard, so I stay close to the house with the dog. The trees are gauzy and romantic.
It’s the end of January, and spring is palpable. While New Englanders are struggling with the snow in their overheated houses, we are beginning to open ours up to the sun. These days are rejuvenating—as spring should be—made all the more so by the contrast of the early morning damp to the sunny midday. Each February, I marvel again at the timing of the wintery slide into spring. The fog wanes and is replaced with early morning dew, but clear skies.
My thoughts have turned to preparation for my vegetable garden—an adventure for me as I have not yet experienced a serious garden. My tomatoes have always come from puny plants plopped into an old oak barrel or trapped in the original pots from Home Depot. Each year the plants produce delicious “sweet one hundreds” by the threes and fours. Friends share bags full of produce from their fertile gardens. I have never had enough to share with my own family, let alone my friends. The tomatoes are popped immediately into my own mouth and rarely make it into the kitchen. Luckily, my children like tomato products but will not eat the actual fruit.
This year—in my retirement--I will construct a raised-bed garden with the help of my son who shares my enthusiasm. He’s the son who likes to cook and with whom I will share my riches. Stay tuned for more on the garden.