I was at Walmart the other day. You probably were too, just because almost everyone was probably at Walmart the other day. Everyone seems to wind up there eventually, and often it is fairly often.
Anyway, I was at Walmart the other day, and spent a few minutes daydreaming, or, more accurately, spring-dreaming, in the seasonal area of the store. You know, that’s the part of the store that changes with the seasons, hence, the name. (No one uses the word ‘hence’ anymore. I’m not sure why.) Truthfully, it was with great joy that I was suddenly in a place that was totally dedicated, if only ‘seasonally,’ to spring and summer! Seed trays, potting soil, spades, hoes and hoses were everywhere, and I felt like a kid in a candy store.
As you may know from previous columns, I don’t have much room for a garden where we live, but do plant a few things in pots, on and around our front porch each year. I love what small successes I have had in making vegetable and flower plants grow. (I usually force the issue with an abundance of Miracle Gro, and still, it’s a miracle if my plants grow very well.)
In any case, there I was, in early January, right in the middle of the spring planting and summer growing seasons, and I wasn’t in Florida, and I wasn’t alone. Several strange people, (I mean, several strangers… I couldn’t tell if they were strange people or not, but they might have been.) were right there with me, taking in the scents of the soil, reading the seed tray labels, and enjoying all of those bountiful veggie pictures that were beautifully displayed on row after row of seed packets. Okay, so they probably were strange people. Some of my fellow spring-dreamers were even buying the seed packs, by the handful. I wasn’t sure why, as there seemed to be many thousands of the packets, and it’s still a bit early to start any plants in your house. Then again, I was tempted to buy some myself, although I would likely have decorated my home with them, taping those colorful reminders of spring and summer all over the place.
It should have come as no surprise to me that people were buying seeds in January. Years ago, in my former life as a retail manager, the seasonal offerings of spring once came into the stores sometime before Christmas. A few of us diligent and dedicated merchandisers put a seed display or two out with the December decorations that year, and sold hundreds of packs of future-flowers and vegetables as stocking-stuffers. It seems that even back then some people liked to have a reminder of spring before the worst (or best) of winter was upon us.
You know, it has recently dawned on me that growing things is similar to writing, in several ways. Firstly, both activities are inexpensive and rewarding things to do. Seeds are pretty cheap, and dirt is dirt cheap; so is a pencil and a pad of paper. Also, planting those seeds is very similar to planting the ‘seeds’ of an idea. The Bible says that we will reap what we sow, and that is true of both seed-sowing, and of planting a thought on paper, to grow a piece of writing. Every year, at this time of year, I begin planning my small amount of planting, and writing these columns about the process. I will eventually begin gathering the physical seeds and soils and starter-trays to make those small, struggling words about plants, reality.
If you are someone like me, who is feeling a bit winter-weary, you should consider doing some planning, and, later on, some planting. If you’re a writer, I don’t have to tell you that you have to write… you already know that. So, if you feel the need to write in winter, you might write about your future ‘sowing.’ If you are a gardener, or a plant-potter like me, (That is different from a pot-planter.) writing down your thoughts about those wonderful future seedlings will make the green of spring and summer seem all the closer.
“George’s World,” a new 740 page collection of George’s columns from The World, is available at xlibris.com, amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com and your favorite bookstore. “The Smoke And Mirrors Effect,” George’s first novel, can be seen at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. Happy Reading!