Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's hard, sometimes, to keep in mind that a gardener's livelihood requires going out into what we unpoetically call 'the elements'. This is especially true when it is raining.

Today it is not raining, but it is cold. Again. We are expecting a high of a balmy 47 degrees today here on the north end of the sunshine state, a veritable heat wave compared to what the rest of the east coast is experiencing. Still, as I get older, it is tempting to spend days on end holed up in teeny-tiny home, waiting it out.

When I lived in my beloved NC mountains, today would have qualified as warm. I got out in much colder weather if there was work to be done, and there always was work to be done. I remember raking leaves that were frozen to the ground, and frozen in big chunks. I remember peeling out of coveralls when it was 22 degrees, because the work would warm me up so much. I remember one spectacular day up on Cowee Mtn., working by myself. The morning was fairly warm, and sunny. Around noon I watched a dark thundercloud roll towards me over the distant ridges. The storm that it brought was ferocious. The mountain shook with thunder, and lightening struck all around. There was hail, marble-sized. And then the sun came out. I went back to work that day, only to have gray clouds descend upon my head, envelop me in fog, wrap me in sleet, and finally, snow.

Being a gardener forces me to get out into the weather, and that is one of the greatest blessings of this life... except when the weather is HOT. How did I ever end up working in Florida? I always said I could never work outdoors if I lived in Florida. I'm pretty sure the Lords of Karma laughed when I said that, and began setting up that very circumstance right away.

Sixteen years later, I've done my time. I call it my penance, for past wrongs, but I think I'm all paid up now. Time to go home. The Sunshine State is a beautiful place to visit, but not so much fun if your profession keeps you outside all day.

I'm looking forward to working in the cold. Think I'll go out today and do some wrap-up work on my gardens here, just for practice.

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