Friday, April 21, 2006

Early Spring

Our little house sits on .06 of an acre of land. It is a weird long triangle shaped lot with no real yard to speak of. Still, in that space (thanks to my husband’s power of magical thought) we have a tree that I make crabapple jelly from, a sweet tiny perennial garden, and glorious raspberry bush and prolific rhubarb patch crammed up against the composters. Monster grape and hops vines climb the peeling paint of the back of the house. Skirting the curb in the front are lilacs and the plum tree with Sophia’s placenta buried beneath.

Thanks to an unseasonably warm early spring Sophia has covered our driveway (an infinitesimal square of asphalt) with rainbow chalk murals. Sheep and cats arabesque beneath flowering arches (a la Angelina Ballerina), frogs leap, and shooting stars circle the word “MOM”. We have so little space to use that we have taken her art to the city sidewalks. Along Loomis Street, down School Street, pausing in front of Manghi’s Bakery are the harbingers of spring. She does the art and I faithfully transcribe the text she dictates to me. “Pig Asleep”, “This puppy likes cheddar cheese”, “Mama cat says to baby cat I have some tea for you!” are some favorites. On days when we have done it all Fimo sculpting, coloring, reading, and chalk art we plant seeds.

More, more, more. I wanna plant more, Mom.

Sophia is filling flowerpots of all sizes with soil. We have dozens of seed packets. Some area few years old and are distant hopes but we’ll try them early and if they don’t work we will re use the pots. Already we have some Salpiglossis and Globe Amaranth that went nowhere.

“They just didn’t sprout,” I explain.” We will try others.”

“I guess they just didn’t sprout,” I hear the little voice repeat as she works.

We are shameless. Early April awash in seed packets and we are miserably overplanting. Pots where three or four seeds would do are being packed. They are getting a fraction of the space they want. Sophia makes careful holes with her index finger with no regard to spacing or depth. She drops in a seed, or two or three and pats the dirt down neatly. More, more, I wanna plant more.

Seed after seed, the perfect orbs of sweet pea, wispy fly-aways of bachelor buttons, almost invisible chamomile, prickly needles of cosmos are woefully packed together and over watered and I let her. I say gently, ”Oh let’s just give those a small drink, a sip” I show her. “Maybe the Bachelor Buttons don’t like to be planted quite so deeply, see?” I show her. But when she pokes her finger down deep into the earth I’m not going to stop and measure. She is happy.

Who knows what the hell these pots will end up like? She did them all herself

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