Gardening update from 10,000 feet elevation…
OK, so perhaps that is a bit of a joke. But look! In the garden’s lower left are the first signs of a raised bed peaking through the receding snow. In that bed, are strawberry plants. Last year, they continued to grow, though we have never harvested fruit from them. Our growing season is usually too short even for berries. But the greens survive and continue to try every year… Amazing how persistent nature is, how strong our need to try…
And over in the front right, you can see the bare stalks of the top of the gooseberry bush. This has done wonderfully here, relatively speaking. We planted it for Forrest’s birthday four or five years ago, and it has more than doubled in size. Though again, no fruit. Well, look on the bright side (and there is always a bright side!): that’s why we don’t have many bears up here.
Hmmm, a ways to go before digging my hands in the warm soil. But I know it will come. It is under there… waiting… I too can wait. There is still plenty to do in the snow (like the big snow shoe climb up Pole Mountain, which the boys promised me they’d join me on this winter).
On my snowshoe today, I came across an open hillside, a place where the snow had melted off before any other. I went there looking for it, for the first signs of spring. If they were to be found anywhere on the mountain, they would be there, in the protected cover of the Aspen trees, a direct south facing slope. A tiny little hot spot on the mountain, secret and secluded. I have stopped here every year in the spring for the reminder that winter will end, that this mountain can harbor other seasons besides the six months of winter, for the hope of change and things yet to come.
It was there. I had to get down on my hands and knees to see it, but it was there. A few blades of green grass. The first dandelion leaves of the season, poking through a blanket of dried and worn grass that managed to grow up here last summer. There was new life on the mountain.
Up here, perhaps we just need to look a little closer. Signs are a little more subtle. If we hope to have a true feel for the land, we need to create an intimate relationship with mountain, to lie quietly with our head to the ground to feel her, understand her, learn her hidden secrets. But if we search hard enough, work long enough, believe strong enough, it will come. We will find what we are looking for.