WAITING FOR MAGIC TO BLOOM

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

For my gardening Gary, the month of March is the equivalent of being pregnant: There is a whole lot of waiting – coupled with occasional agony – until the big event occurs.

That big event, in this case, is spring. But the 31 days of March along The Beach Coast can often feel like nine months to him.

While I am no fan of February – the darkness, the short days – Gary is no fan of March. He studies the skies, he moves aside the snow and glares at the ground.

“Hurry up!” he often says.

The earth, unlike Gary, remains silent. And typically so does the entire month.

Patience is not one of Gary’s virtues. He is many things – generous, kind, funny, handsome, inspiring – but he is not patient. He is a human tornado, an Energy Bunny hidden in the body of a man.

Gary yells at the microwave.

He twiddles his thumbs at stoplights.

There is no internet service fast enough to satisfy him.

So to say that March along The Beach Coast can drive him to the point of being institutionalized would be a mammoth understatement.

And yet, since we moved to Turkey Run some five years ago, I have learned that each month, each season here is meant to teach us something.

I am not a gardener. I do not particularly enjoy getting my hands dirty, or sticking my fingers into the mud. It makes me gag.

Still, I appreciate the majesty of spring, the beauty of Gary’s gardens, the intricacies of each flower and plant. When his gardens are in full bloom, I pick a new arrangement every few days and place it on my writing desk.

Those flowers inspire me.

But, like a book – like anything inspired, really – I know they take patience to grow: The earth must come alive and be cultivated, the ground must be cleared and prepped, the tender buds nourished, before magic can bloom.

There was a March not too long ago when I walked down to find Gary staring out at a coal grey sky, while snow showers whipped about, his breath steaming the window.

He was tapping his foot. “Hurry up!” he was mumbling.

I brought him some hot tea – in one of his grandmother’s desert rose tea cups – and then went down into our basement and unearthed one of Gary’s favorite gardening stakes. It had been a gift from me, and featured a quote from Emerson, one of my inspirations.

“Read it,” I said, holding the stake in front of his face.

“Adopt the pace of nature: Her secret is patience.”

He looked at me and smiled.

A few seconds later, Gary was again tapping his foot, which forced me to wave the stake – OK, hit him on the side of the head with it – once again.

Yes, March requires patience.

But, then again, so does Gary.

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