It’s happened again — the world has come around and has begun to tilt back toward the sun again — and our northern world is turning light again. When I moved up here my California friends were horrified by the prospect of cold, but having survived childhood and college in Wisconsin, the coldest place on earth, I wasn’t worried about the cold. It was the dark that concerned me. Winter is long and dark here — months on end where the sun disappears by five, doesn’t show itself again until after eight.
It’s one of the things that keeping a garden has done for me — it’s put me back in touch with the progression of the seasons. The world is getting light and suddenly it’s time to dig the winter duff off the perennial beds, time to plant spinach and arugula and broccoli rabe. Not time in the clock sense either — time in the older, world-turning-on-its-axis sense. I’m slightly thrummy with anxiety because I haven’t had time to start the tomato seedlings yet, and the middle of March, just about the equinox, is time to start the heat-loving plants: tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, zucchini, so that they can go in the garden the end of May (do not be fooled into planting tomatoes before Memorial Day — it’s the first thing anyone tells you up here, and they’re right).
And so, after a week of unseasonable warmth, I’ve got tidy perennial beds, some seeds in the vegetable gardens, and I’ve had to start watering, which is startling. But the world is greening up. The sun has, indeed, come back again.