The seed catalogs started coming in the mail two days after Christmas. One day after my grandfather died. Although I despise shopping in the traditional sense, there is something incredibly appealing about settling in to the couch with a cup of tea and a catalog. Sitting with my girls, each of us armed with a Sharpie, flipping through the pages and scanning the photographs of gloriously colored fruits and vegetables.
My oldest daughter goes slowly, reading the details of whether or not we have to start the seeds indoors or plant them directly into the ground. Frustrated with the snail's pace, my youngest brandishes her pen like a magic wand, circling the ones with the most striking photos regardless of the required growing season or agricultural zone.
We have decided to triple the size of our garden this year. A blue tarp sits in the field, covering decomposing newspaper that is supposed to kill the grass beneath it. I imagine worms and grubs emerging from the depths of the cold soil to munch the sodden paper and turn it into rich soil. It is my job to whittle down the list of seeds to order and plan the calendar. I'll make sure the compost is turned into the ground and gauge the perfect time to plant according to the last frost. I will provide the seeds, row markers, and child-size gloves.
As we sit together, looking over the pages and pages of possibilities I feel the healing begin. Tiny rips begin to knit themselves together within me. Thoughts of spending time with my children, planning ways to enrich this place we call home, planting seeds in the earth with the faith that magic will happen beneath the dirt even though we can't see it, all of these feel warm and hopeful. We will gently push these small things into the soil, nurture them with water and sunlight and care even as we leave them to do what they were designed for. We will be rewarded for our efforts and our care. Possibilities abound.