Hunting, Fishing and Other Grounds for Divorce, by Jacki Michels
Every year, it’s the same thing. The sun blazes into the morning window, belying the actual temperature and wind chill outside. By afternoon the earth’s frosted coating melts away as the spring breeze grows sweet and beckons like a karaoke bar attracts a lonely sailor on furlough.
For those similarly affected, you’ll recognize that the symptoms of this affliction began back in February, when you openly lusted after the glossy pages of Burpee, Johnny’s and the like, wishing there was a centerfold pullout of a voluptuous squash. When the seeds finally arrived in the mail, it was as if the karaoke bar closed and now the band had begun to play, and they are smoking hot! It’s time to dance!
And for the April Fool, dance you will. You will go from the penguin shuffle (the move you did all winter to avoid falling on the ice) to the Alaska stomp. Why do we stomp? With a lack of far-north vineyards and fall grapes to crush, we are left to the peculiar tradition of stomping the snow and ice from the yard with insulated boots and waterproof hope. We stomp free the extension cords of winter, we stomp sheets of ice and banks of snow into submission. Giddy with the glory of spring we scamper across the yard and begin to circle the trees counterclockwise, disrobing them of their winter moose-deterrent garland and plastic yuletide prettiness.
The fact that “the last full moon of June” is homesteader wisdom concerning outdoor planting does not deter us from delusions of an earlier full, growing, glorious spring.
After the dance, the madness continues. Next, all manner of little planting pots are laid out like shot glasses, to be filled to near overflowing with loamy sweet dirt and water. Lovingly, we fondle little packets of promise. Longingly, we admire the silky lines on the calla lily bulb packet. We know we can almost smell the powdery perfume of heliotrope, sweet peas and alyssum. Slender Asian cucumbers and plump tomato packets make our hearts skip a beat, and oh! Would you look at those melons!
The imaginings are more than we can stand, so we sprinkle tiny seeds like fairy dust into flats filled with rich earth. We sigh and hum and sing quietly and recite the creed of the April Fool:
For we believe in the garden gnomes and pink plastic flamingos, early springs and global warming as one (rightly) believes in true love.
For it is spring and we are newly in love.
Yes, it is spring and we are in love and we shall grow tomatoes out of doors this summer.
Then, we just keep right on a-planting. Because no matter what physical space limitations we April Fools have, our longing is uncontainable, and we imagine we can grow 10 times that amount in the confines of our garden. Yea, and surely as it will be time to wed our plants to the good earth. Very soon. Yes, very soon now.
- Grounds for Divorce No. 8, 000.75 — Threatening to use any garden deco (gnomes, flamingos, fairies and the like) for target practice.
Jacki Michels is a freelance writer who lives (and loves) in Soldotna.