Monday, May 14, 2012

Spring Has Sprung

The ritual has begun.

Spring, I now declare, is here. I don't care what the calender says. I don't care what they announce on television. Spring is here.

I  know this because right now, as I type this, Joe is out on the balcony gardening. He's just got home from Canadian Tire where he's picked up:

potting soil
two beefsteak tomato plants
one habanero plant
one sweet banana pepper plant
one pot of basil
marigolds, to plant amongst to keep the bugs away

He does this when his inner clock strikes 'spring' ... thus I know it's spring. I bought him gardening gloves a few years back but he doesn't use them. Likes to get his hands dirty he told me sounding all 'man of the soil' as he spoke. His gardening is erratically successful. Some summers we have lovely tomatoes, some summers he grows an amazing version of beefsteak cherry tomatoes. They all do taste very good, I do admit.

When we first thought about buying a house, I made it clear ... I don't do 'yard' and I don't do 'gardening'. I do other things. I'm a good cook. I'm a terrific shopper. I know the beer to buy to toast the first tomato and the beer to buy to toast the first pepper - they are quite different of course. So, I do have my place in all this, the cycle of creation, it just doesn't involve soil or seed or watering buckets.

Selling the house and moving to the city, I was worried about this annual rite. I had some dark moments of the soul as I realized that my disability had made country living unfeasible, for me at any rate. Joe had mentioned several times after leaving the city that he never wanted to live in the city again. Watching him in our gardens, none really of the Eden variety, I knew that this was true. He loved where we lived.

But I felt captive.

Nothing was accessible to me, that everything was accessible to us didn't make it better, in fact, it made it worse. Suggesting a move to the city was difficult to do and I watched Joe struggle a bit with the decision - because if he'd have said 'no' we'd have stayed. Some votes need to be unanimous. But, he said 'aye' and we moved. Our lives changed radically. I got my power chair and my independence, Joe got a community where he could walk everywhere and where he found it surprisingly easy, and maybe it's because of the gardener in him, to put down roots.

Our first spring here, I knew we were OK because Joe got up one morning, headed out with his little wire trolley and he came back with the makings of a balcony garden. I watched him happily then, as he is now, puttering out there making a garden. And then, as now, I watched him happily get in touch with the earth, stand and map out the balcony based on what time of day the sun hits what area. He approaches the whole thing with a mixture of science and mysticism. But he's happy.

We've both adapted to our lives here.We've developed new traditions and enjoy watching the seasons change, as they do even in the center of a city. We've adapted to this life, as we've adapted to every step along the journey. At the time, when the wheelchair entered our life, it seemed as if it had overtaken the journey and made the road turn a sharp left. And maybe it did, and maybe it didn't. I don't know.

All I know is that that road, sharp turn left or not, has brought us here, again, to spring.

And because it's spring.

Joe is in the garden.


Anonymous said...

I love the twists and turns of long term relationships. The love, the commitment, the sacrifices, the joys - the building of a life together. I love a love story. Thanks for sharing yours.

John R. said...

The great thing about city deer ticks!! Check for them anyway...Happy Spring!

Tamara said...

Happy Spring!

Liz Miller said...

Now I'm all verklempt. What a beautiful post.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

Aren't you and Joe so blessed! I am with anonymous #1 - I love a good love story.


Princeton Posse said...

I suggest Joe try growing scarlet runner beans in pots. I have very good success with both flowers and beans. Also, we have lots of deer and they can't get onto the balcony!

Cynthia F. said...

This is a wonderful story about a marriage, and about aging together.

Anonymous said...

Last week I added two basil plants, flat leaf parsley, and a flowering orange thyme, to the three pots outside my door.

They already had strawberries, oregano, mint, chives, and cilantro that self sowed last fall.

I think I need a habanero too.
Happy Gardening, Joe. Happy Spring to both of you!