Spring has always been my favorite season. Maybe it’s because four generations of women in my family were born in the springtime or perhaps it’s because of the prospect of new life that’s waiting just below the surface to blossom. Regardless of the reason, the mere thought of birds that chirp high in the trees and flowers that sprout through their beds of topsoil is enough to get the heart humming with joy.
This winter was mild, even by Long Island standards. My rosemary and parsley plants made it through the cold, and my oregano that circles my shoddy old whiskey barrel planter started to sprout tiny green leaves. This is the time of year that Hubby and I visit Hicks Nurseries, ShopRite supermarket and Home Depot for the best deals on tomato, pepper and basil starter plants. Since life had other plans this year, we decided to do something different.
Our home came with a greenhouse window when we purchased it many years ago. The previous owners opted to remove the side door and place a large Bay window on the side of the house. At first, I found the window poorly placed and quite drafty. During our first year in Hicksville, we managed to bang our heads on the base of the window regularly, which was located directly over our trash cans. One of the best things about that drafty old window was its ability to house multiple starter plants before they made their way to the garden, sometime in May. The plants grew tall and often were hunched over when we brought them outside. When we replaced the window several years ago with a legitimate greenhouse style, the interior wasn’t large enough to accommodate the plants as they grew.
Several Easters ago, Hubby bought me a seed starter kit at Home Depot. I began harvesting seeds from our tomatoes and peppers several years ago and had quite a collection in our attic from which to choose. After two failed attempts at growing my own starters, I gave up. Hubby ditched the base in the back of the garage with the intention to toss it.
When I mentioned last week that I longed for starter plants, Hubby’s eyes secretly sparkled. He went into the backyard without a word. My daughter and I shot each other a confused glance and continued our task of clearing out the greenhouse window, which had become overrun with plants in various stages of demise.
Just as my daughter made her last pass of the window with her sponge, Hubby entered the house with the base of the seed starter kit in his arms. He’d taken old yogurt cups and punched out drainage holes in the base, then filled them with topsoil and compost.
“Make your own starters,” he said with a smile. “You have plenty of seeds upstairs.” I was up for the challenge, especially because Mom had shown me how to harvest basil seeds from the white flower spikes when basil “goes to seed”.
As of right now, I noticed a few squash seedlings had taken hold in one of the cups. The base sits in the now-clean greenhouse window, and I’m hoping to find a few more seedlings over the next few weeks. As I mentioned before, the newness of life unfolding is miraculous and beautiful at once.
Spring represents rebirth, as signified in many beliefs worldwide. Wouldn’t it be grand if this spring, above all others, we found the courage to begin again, in a new and exciting way? This could be our perfect opportunity to reinvent ourselves as a civilization. While it’s often human nature to long for “how things used to be”, wouldn’t it be amazing if we were offered a chance to improve, to be better, to find something new and exciting? Just like a seedling that rises from the earth in the spring, perhaps this is our chance to become like the proverbial Phoenix. Maybe this is our chance to shine a new light. Maybe this is humanity’s springtime, and maybe we need to re-examine our former habits and grow “new seeds” within ourselves. It’s a chance for new beginnings. As the Oak Ridge Boys sang, “Let’s plant a seed and watch it grow.”
Patty Servidio is an Anton Media Group columnist.