The story below is an excerpt from our March/April 2017 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, log in to read our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app. Thank you!
It’s not New Year’s that’s the time for re-boot. At least at one spot in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, the time to begin anew is spring.
Who doesn’t love a new beginning? All the promise and potential of a fresh start certainly gets my blood pumping. I find it so exciting to start anew. One of the best fresh starts comes every year on the first day of spring. It’s nature’s alarm clock buzzing. Okie dokie, we’re awake. Let’s get going.
Of course, the other fresh start on the calendar is New Year’s Day, but I don’t really care for January 1st. Honestly, it has such a penchant for nagging about one’s shortcomings that it is the mother-in-law of all holidays. Lose weight, stand up straight, save money, clean your house, do everything you’ve been ignoring for 364 days just because it’s flipped into a new year. I’m still me, so it is highly unlikely that I will morph into Martha Stewart unless I find a big old Mason jar of pixie dust lying around. Magic, Glinda-the-Good-Witch levels of intervention, is what it would take for me to become the person New Year’s Day thinks I should be. Usually, I don’t even get organized to buy a new calendar until February so what chance do I have of becoming a better person just like that?
But spring, spring is full of possibilities without all the ugly judgment. If spring had a tag word, it would be “fresh.” There’s not much on this planet that’s more beautiful than spring in the Shenandoah Valley. It delights you with acres of apple trees in blossom. The valley erupts in that gorgeous shade of green that is only visible for the short time plants are revealing new growth. It is full of newborn animals, all soft and smelling of warm milk and early morning dew. Bird song fills the air. It’s so gleeful, it’s practically Disney-fied.
Spring is a welcomed mulligan in my life, a “do-over.” This year, I am really going to plant those seeds I ordered. This year my garden will be spectacular. That would be a huge surprise to my family since I still have seed packets from 2008 that haven’t seen dirt yet. I haven’t had a garden since well before my back operation in 2003. Haven’t sunk a spade into the ground in ages. Still somehow, I spend many a winter’s night planning a gorgeous vegetable garden and ordering all the latest seeds I think I need.
I buy packets of seeds for all kinds of exotic vegetables. Baby bok choy, green eggplant, purple carrots, chilies from 20 different countries, melons with names I can’t even pronounce, all arrive from around the world to languish in my inbox. I feel awful that these seeds have not gotten the chance to live up to their potential. Obviously, not badly enough to toss some soil over them but badly enough to experience a tinge of guilt.