The strident song of the wind-chimes on the north side of the house announced our little taste of spring has fled. Chore time means runny noses and frozen hoses once again. Freezing weather means the extra chore of bringing in the rabbit water at night and putting it back out in the morning. The livestock tank heater is once again plugged in.
Even though the false spring weather has flown away to the south, the Spring Fever it brought lingers. My fingers itch to push themselves into soft soil and my nose quivers while testing the air for the first whiff of burgeoning life. The seeds cry to me from their bright paper packets, begging as hard as any 5 year old child could for a cookie before dinner. “Plant us! Release us from this long sleep.”
I know it is too soon.
If left unchecked, Spring Fever can result in huge flats of plants arriving at my door with no garden bed in sight for them, boxes of seeds, packages of trees and shrubs I have no idea how to care for, and a tote full of baby chicks in the living room. The toll of death and destruction is generally as high as the stress level the aftermath brings. Over the years I’ve developed some strategies to combat this dire disease. I find the most effective remedy is a smile.
I smile when I look outside to see the hens hopping up to pull bits of hay from Jack, the pony’s, long winter coat. I smile at the sight of two very pregnant goats contentedly dozing in the sun against the privacy fence. I smile at the patchwork of color on the fur of the latest litter of Champagne d’Argent bunnies as they transition from black to silver. I smile as I watch the abundance of birds reveling in the sunflower seeds in the feeder while the fat squirrels rummage for leftovers underneath. I have so many things to smile about.
I have also discovered that I need to find a small outlet for my strong desire for growing things. This year I’ve planted bush basil in a recycled pineapple can on the kitchen windowsill. Whenever I get a new seed catalog, I look at the tender green of the seedlings and it gives me the willpower to toss it away unopened. This little can of life is a promise of the season to come. It also makes me smile.
It is Hope.