This afternoon, I stand at the kitchen window and gaze mournfully at the backyard. The day is gloomy and wet. Gusts of wind riffle the surface of a puddle that has formed on the east section of the garden. I sigh and think of the letter P, and the word that leaps first to my mind is persistent.
Our winter of 2017/2018 is all about persistent precipitation. Rain, rain, and more rain. It’s not unusual for us to get plenty of rain, but this year seems determined to break every record for rainfall dating back to the first scratchings on a cave wall.
We try to be cheerful about the endless downpours. We say things like, “That’s what makes the landscape so green!” and we force a laugh. As follow-up, we will say, “Can’t let a little rain stop ya.”
So, we fill our closets with raincoats, umbrellas, waterproof ponchos, and rubber boots. When we can’t stand huddling inside any longer, we gear up and go out for a sloshy, squishy, drippy walk. On our return, we hang our rainwear over the bathtub, the better to contain the water still streaming off it all.
Despite the rain, life persists in the garden. Though I cleared the ground after harvest in the fall, chickweed has re-emerged and now grows doggedly in the centre section. Some say that chickweed is edible, and, if you like the flavour of grass, you probably will agree. Yes, it’s just that tasty.
Weeds aside, I am grateful for the perennials in my yard. They are already bringing touches of colour and life to the scene. The leaf buds on the raspberry canes are showing delicate hints of green, the rhubarb has pushed the red tips of this year’s shoots through the mucky surface of the soil, and cheery yellow catkins dangle from the hazelnut trees.
As surely as the rain, the perennials, and the weeds will persist, so will this gardener. It’s time to compose a list of seeds I will need for spring and make notes in my calendar for when I will start each variety of seedling on my south-facing windowsill.
Again, I sigh. It’s still January and many cold, wet weeks stretch out between now and spring. Winter persists.
Kids can watch a pigeon, a penguin, and a parrot as they learn the letter p in this video.