Are you dreaming about having a summer garden? If not, you probably don’t garden. These last few weeks of reprieve from the bitter cold winter were a blessing. When the temperature reaches into the 40s and 50s, I start thinking about the soil and what I’m going to plant – come spring.
Last fall, I put garlic into the ground, rather late, and I wonder how the little cloves will do. I think of the amazing process of the freezing ground being the ideal place for garlic waiting to grow. I think of all the seeds that the wild plants have scattered with the help of birds, squirrels and the wind — and I begin to feel hope again.
There is a blizzard predicted for this week, and before you read these lines, it will descend and obliterate this spring dream for another four weeks, I’m sure. There is something certain about having to shovel a foot or more of snow to bring anyone into the present moment. In that certainty lies the knowing, though, that spring will rise eternal, thankfully.
Our back field was clear of snow this past week, so another round of winter will seem like a whole new season — or as one friend put it, “Old Man Winter just doesn’t want to loosen his grip on us just yet.” Nothing like a Mainer to put a realistic spin on the weather.
I had a phone call with a dear friend who lives out West this week. She mentioned the blizzard that was about to hit her area and told me it was predicted for us, too. It was nice of her to consider how the weather is in our portion of the world. I hadn’t stopped to listen, at that point, to the predictions. I went to my latest piece of technology, and did a Google search for the National Weather Service out of Gray, Maine.
Sure enough, the weather she told me about would be with us in a few days. I scanned my bones for aches and pains – just to see if, like my father, I could forecast as accurately as he could what was heading our way. This morning, as I write this, I know that I can. With aging, I sense the changes in the barometric pressure, ahead of time.
Perry, my dear husband, and I did a grocery run this past weekend. In all actuality, it was more like a grocery slog. My winter cupboards were bare, I told him, and I wanted to ensure we were well stocked in canned goods – in case of another nor’easter. Perry, good man that he is, went along willingly.
Just an aside here, as I look back at our shopping trip: I am somewhat dismayed to see that tuna is no longer in the same size can. Bumble Bee has succumbed, like many of the rest of the food suppliers to the grocery chains, to charging the same price (or more) – for less. I suppose they think we don’t notice, yet we do.
I decided to vote with my feet – or in this case, my wallet and my hands — and promptly put the smaller, more expensive can back on the shelf. “Well, we’ve been thinking about going completely vegetarian,” Perry said, his voice trailing off in that accepting kind of way that he has when he is working on his own particular kind of acceptance. “Yes, I agree,” I said decisively, and that was that.
We finished our shopping and pointed the car toward home, sans tuna, both of us worn out and too tired to stop for a cup of coffee at McDonald’s. We’d left at 10 that morning, done a dump run – or rather, “stopped at the transfer station” and completed our recycling, and then drove to the True Value store in Wiscasset. Now there is a store to spend some time in, exploring.
Perry was taken by the great array of tools and equipment; me, I liked their wares for the house. And we both were captivated by the Western-style cowboy boots they had on sale. Yet we left with only one item: a new trash can. Our old one has finally worn out at the bottom and I hoped to replace it with one just like it.
How naive I was. I realized there is no such thing as one “just like it” – our “trash container,” as I learned it was called, is not made anymore. You learn something new every day, I told Perry. Anyway, we made a single purchase of a newfangled trash container there at the True Value and went on to Hannaford. That’s where I drew the line on the smaller can of tuna.
“Am I just getting old or doesn’t anything worth having stay the same?” I wondered as I drove the last few miles home. We’d spent the bulk of the day chasing little dreams, I thought. What big dream would I rather hold in my heart? Surely, not a choice trash container. Nor a small can of tuna fish. Perry piped up then from the passenger seat and said: “Next time, let’s stock up on sardines!”
“Sardines it is,” I willingly agreed.