A low is parked over the Bay of Funday, wobbling away over Nova Scotia, bringing us day after day of dry, north winds. The air was dry even up over Canada, and when it is warmed thirty degrees by the high late-April sun it becomes parched. There is no shade in the woods and the duff swiftly dries in the bright sun, and the fire danger is high. The dead leaves are crisp and no longer oppressed by snow, and they swirl up and swoop down to places I already raked last fall. I clean the garden and the whipping wind messes it all up again.
I’ve tried to have a sense of humor about the wind. I bent my old back to carefully collect all the plastic tabs from last year’s plants into a plastic flowerpot, and then the pot caught the mischievous wind’s attention. The wind picked up the pot and flung it fifty feet away, scattering the plastic tabs all over the garden again. I was not amused.
I was thinking I’d skip the garden and focus on writing this year, but there’s enough worrisome news about food shortages to get me creaking about as an antiquated survivalist. I have peas planted, and enough onions, garlic and potatoes to last a winter, but the dry wind keeps causing me trouble. I laid down gardener’s fabric to repress weeds, and buried the edges with wet dirt, and then cut holes to plant the onions, but the wind dried the dirt, blew it off the fabric’s edges, and rolled up the fabric. This is not a good start. The weeds are winning even before they start growing.
Ha ha ha. That was a joke, delivered in a very grumpy tone of voice.
It’s so dry that even when below freezing at dawn there’s no frost on the car’s windshield. The wind has an annoying static and is so cold my fingers swiftly turn purple. Besides dust there is pollen in the air, and my eyes itch, and my nose is runny and chapped. So I decide I’ll let it warm up a bit more outside before gardening, and nip inside for a second coffee and a sonnet.
Reluctant spring remains frugal with joy. Refrigerated daffodils quiver In the keen, north wind; lilacs don't deploy Their blooms from sullen buds; sunbeams shiver Through bare-bone branches which are refusing To bust out. Despite sun high as August's I don't wear my straw hat, instead choosing My woolen one; my nose is nipped and my trust's As guarded as a poker player's cards. I sneer at songbirds; they've lost their minds And belt out hymns although the chill retards. The spinach is smarter. The sunshine blinds Those birds, and the buoyant bluebird's back Reflects a blue sky full of hope that I lack.
In my grumpy mood I concluded I am short on spirituality. Bluebirds have more faith than I do. Likely it is because they don’t read the papers. I should know better, but I can never resist taking a quick peek at the news. It makes it all the harder to have faith.
Sometimes it seems I worship my worry. My coins say, "In God We Trust", but I don't. God, forgive me. Life flashes by; all hurry As if our stuff will last when it won't. God always was, is, and always will be, But the problem is: God's not gripped by a fist. Endlessness is too vast for eyes to see So, in blindness, we say God can't exist Because we can't pinch God like a penny. Can we only worship things we can touch? But can I touch worry? I've got many But all in my head. Worry is a crutch We lean upon when we're not even lame. It's a very odd way to be playing God's game.
My thoughts are getting too heavy, so I flee back out to the simplicity of my garden.