Living Seasonally

There is a packet of nasturtium seeds in the junk drawer in my kitchen.  Early in the morning or late at night, when the house is quiet, I can hear them calling out to me.  Their voices are soft, but powerful; they speak of growth, potential, and the glories of a long, golden summer.  They want to be planted—to stretch their roots and reach for the sky.  The only problem is, it hasn’t been time yet.  As I am in the occasional habit of speaking to inanimate things I respond, telling them as much.  They just won’t listen.

Giant nasturtiums in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

It’s alright though, because today is the day.  The moment I wrap up this blog post, I’ll be out in the dirt.  They’ve waited long enough, and so have I.

The thing is, I’ve liked keeping them there, where I see them every time I need a tack, or a nail, or a rubber band.  These nasturtium seeds have been a great exercise in restraint; they remind me there is a season for everything, and often the greatest reward comes from waiting.

I prefer to live my life seasonally, and I am rarely more aware of this than in the early spring.  I love the winter, but it seems to stretch on forever in New England, even when it’s been relatively mild.  By mid-February I’m desperate to see green leaves and breathe warm air perfumed with apple blossoms.  As I mentioned last week, the ocean keeps things cold here longer than the interior, so it’s not until now—mid April—that spring really gets started.  It’s here now, and it was worth the wait.  See. . . it’s about the build-up and anticipation.

The waiting makes it special, and seasons are fleeting.  We’ve only got a couple weeks to appreciate the blooming of the forsythia.  The fiddleheads will be up soon, but it won’t be long until they unfurl into fern fronds.  The vernal pools in the woods,

A vernal pool in late March. Most are dry by July.

filled with snowmelt and early spring rains, will dry, leaving fertile hollows and just the memory of the chorus of quacking frogs that occupied their waters.  The crocuses, grape hyacinth, tulips and daffodils will all shine for the briefest instant before disappearing beneath the earth for another year. . .

And I’m going to do my best to enjoy all of these things to their fullest extent every day.  Because if I don’t do it now, well. . . I’ve got a long wait ahead of me before I can do it again.

And it’s not just about the spring!  Would the flavor of a sun-ripened tomato, plucked fresh from the vine, be as exhilarating if I could have one any time of year?  Would the brilliant, fiery red of the autumn maple leaves be as arresting if I could see them for more than a couple weeks in the fall?  Even the snow, which I love more than anything, would grow old if it fell from the sky year round.


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Revenge is better with a side of bacon. . . 

Fresh summer tomatoes just off the vine

So I live seasonally as much by choice as by circumstance.  I can buy a tomato year-round, but they don’t taste like much outside of the summer.  I could permanently keep autumn leaves or snow as the wallpaper on my computer and phone, but that might be akin to having the Christmas tree up in June.  I could probably serve asparagus as Thanksgiving but, well. . . you get the point.

Living seasonally means there is always something to appreciate in the moment, and to look forward to down the line.  So, that being said, I’ve spent enough time inside today.  It’s time to get out into the air, get my hands dirty, and put those nasturtium seeds in the ground.

They really won’t shut up about it!

Do you live seasonally?  What do you look forward to most at this time of year?  Is there a particular season you can’t wait to get to?  Let me know in the comments below.


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