Dreaming of green things

Day 123

photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen

I’m dreaming of green things.

Of tiny, delicate tendrils seeking sun,

stretching towards sky,

wild with growth.

In these cold, dark days,

Let us read the seed catalogs like bibles.

Scriptures in soil.

An ancient language, foreign on the tongue.

Bountiful Gardens: 2014: cucuberta maxima: Glossy round fruits are meatier and richer tasting than others.

Southern Exposure Seed Company: 2014: zea mayze: Corn is a heavy feeder that especially needs nitrogen and potassium

Baker Creek 2014: phaseolus vulgaris: Plant when soil has warmed to 60 degrees. Rotate locations.

Soon we will prepare the beds.

Gently, so gently. They will hold babies after all. In need of coddling, at least at first.

We will work the soil, to loosen, to aerate. With shiny shovels or large, strong broadfork. Lift but don’t flip! The tiny ones who live in the dirt are far too delicate for that.

The soil will be soft, so soft. Easy to plant by hand, demanding great care.

We must never lose our balance! An errant footstep will sink deep, difficult to repair. The low spot will sit, accusingly depressed, well into the hot days of the summer sun.

We’ll fill the flats with soil and compost,

food scraps lovingly piled throughout the long fall and winter months, turned to the darkest richest humus, food for plants.

And then the seeds.

So small, yet containing so much,

strands of DNA, whole worlds, magic.

Let them spill over our open palms.

The flat, dry teardrops of the squashes,

the smooth, speckled shiny of the beans,

the colored kernels of the starchy dent corn.

More precious

than the rarest diamonds,

the richest rubies,

the purest, and warmest of gold.

Let us place them in their cozy beds,

pat them into soft soil,

water them gently, hose spraying like the lightest rain.

And then the sun,

bright rays brushing cool cheeks, warming cold fingers,



the first small shoots from their dark, sealed hiding place,

at first like a whisper, or a dream,

and then, as the days go by,

larger, stronger, taller,

1 leaf, and then 2,

and then, before long,

the day of transplants,

moving tiny bodies into their permanent homes,

touching them gently, with the softest hands.

Careful! not to bruise the stems, the tiny leaves.

Just like people,

mistreatment in early life can leave deep scars,

can be hard to heal,

will make growth more difficult, fruiting more painful,

will make life hard.

And then the waiting,

the watching, and watering,

the walking along paths, and lifting of weeds,

some edible, thrown in the pot for supper, some not,

thrown in the compost for soil.

Day in and day out,

spending time,

coming to know

each plant like a friend.

And then one day,




running down chin,

coloring fingertips,

and lips.

I’m dreaming of green things.

And red, and yellow, and purple, and black.

Of muddy toes,

and stained knees.

Of hot sun,


having traveled from very far away.

In this time of dark,

I am in light.

Thank you for listening,



photo by Michelle Johnsen

photo by Michelle Johnsen




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