Everyone has their least favorite time of the year. For me this is it…January, the longest, darkest, cruelest month of all.
When I lived in Seattle (always in an apartment, never with more than window-sills to garden on) winter didn't hit me quite as bad. After all everything was so green, the reverse of what I’d known for the first 21 years of my life in Spokane, Washington.
In Spokane the lawns were green in the summer (lots of cheap water) and then would go dormant in the frozen wintertime, when the entire city turns an ugly brown. Of course Spokane is filled with conifers which should green things up, but they’re so dark they end-up sucking most of light from the sky, and broad-leaf evergreens are practically non-existent in eastern Washington. In Seattle lawns were allowed to go dormant in the summer, but as soon as the rain returned in the fall…POW! It was the emerald city all over again. And of course the lawns were just the carpet; the entire city seemed to be one big green garden, there were happy plants everywhere, all winter long! Surrounded by all that green, winter was not the depressing event I’d known it to be.
But then I moved back to Spokane (it’s a long story).
It was no accident that I moved in May, after all spring, summer and fall are all lovely in Spokane. I had a good 7+ months to get acclimated to my new life before I had to hunker down for wintertime. I also had a secret weapon, a quote I’d read months before when still in Seattle and tucked away, knowing I’d need it. Come January I pulled out that piece of paper and put it where I could see it every day. When the darkness of it all became too much I’d read that quote and somehow get through the day. I was reminded soon I would smell that glorious smell of warming earth and begin to see bits of green appear.
Time passed, there were moves, and I lost the quote. It was okay, I didn't need it. It had served its purpose.
Now I’m living in Portland, and just like Seattle the lawns go golden in the summer and turn bright green when the rains return in the fall. There is green all around me. But my gardener’s heart wants more. I've gotten greedy; I want summer year round, the cold wet darkness that is January dulls my soul. However I recently came across that quote again; I’ll be reading it a lot over the next few weeks. Of course I’m taking the words far more literally than the author intended, but I doubt he would mind. Maybe you can use it to, we've all got the power inside of us, we just need to remember to feel it...
"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer"
- Albert Camus