The garden is at its most pristine now.

The rains have washed away pervasive sub-urban dusts, leaving behind dense, heavy soils begging for air, the trowel providing respiration.

In the silver winter sun, bitter greens reach feebly skyward for warmth, their growth now infinitesimal, their colors vibrant.

Vegetable beds are clean and tidy, absent of the wild overgrowth of summer; the leaves of autumn past long ago raked and composted; the surprise of spring not yet discovered.

Barren tree limbs are stark against gauzy gray light, revealing once-hidden birds’ nests, and the hard-heartedness of January.

Under canopies of heavily laden Meyer lemon and orange trees, smuggled seeds are planted in potting soils shoveled into boxes made from ancient windows and old redwood, a nod to our future dinner table.

But it is the green of these cold, wet days of early winter in northern California that stirs this soul.

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