My world has ended, and yet it is spring.
Daffodils and dandelions and buttercups greet the morning with blooms like sunshine. Dandelion-yellow is my favorite color, and this time of year, the ground is carpeted in cheer. Even the pollen joins in, coating the world in its suffocating dust.
We’re supposed to hate pollen. I can’t bring myself to do so, even with a tickle in my throat. I feel for you, allergy-sufferers, but I can’t bring myself to join in on the campaign against the clouds of yellow.
I’m grateful my quarantine involves sunshine and yellow flowers and a tiny, but spirit-saving, front garden. Yellow wildflowers all seem to have names that are a bit twee, decidedly cheery, don’t they? Isn’t that a nice thing? Agrimony. Firewheel. Honeysuckle. You’re meant to say them with a smile.
I’m glad. They deserve cheerful names.
Is it possible to think of a dandelion and not feel a bit better?
It’s too early to plant my grandmother’s marigolds (another delightful word), but I’ll try anyway. My uncle told me it was too early. I don’t know much about gardening. That seed of horrible, wonderful, torturous hope that sits resolutely in my sternum permeates even this small action. I am told it is hopeless to plant marigolds before the last frost, that frosts in March are common, and yet I have hope.
Grandma’s stilted cursive on homemade seed packets brings a pang of unnamable emotion to my throat.
I should call her. Do I have the emotional energy to call her? Perhaps tomorrow. Perhaps I’ll text for now.
My hand spade isn’t quite enough to pierce through the Carolina clay, but I’ll make do. I bought this tool in a fit of inspiration last year, deciding I’d finally become a “plant person.” I’m glad I did. I move my hand to the side, step on my spade, get a little more leverage. There. Got it.
With every hole I dig, every bit of dirt that lodges beneath my fingernails, I feel a little better. A little more grounded. A little more whole.
I shouldn’t wait to call.
But I will, because I am fragile and because yesterday, I lost my job due to the global economic crash. I’m not sure if I have the strength to say that out loud to my grandmother. I can hardly think about it without sobbing.
I wave to every stranger who drives down my road. They wave back, with fervor. It’s not the Southerner’s signature hand-in-the-air acknowledgement, it’s a real wave. A real hello. We’re all desperate for a sense of connection, a feeling of community, fertilizer for our seeds of hope. Hello, fellow humans. I see you. I am here with you, a responsible six feet away.
I’ll save half the marigold seeds to plant in April, when I’m supposed to plant them, when the risk of frost has passed.
What will the world look like when I plant these seeds, I wonder?
Who will I be when I plant these seeds, I wonder?