I miss having my hands in the dirt.
In my book, I write about growing up in the country and always having a garden of some sort. My sister Bertie and I, when we lived in Newtown, Connecticut, had a yearly ritual of planting marigolds and zinnias in a small plot right in front of our house. We planted them from seed, turning the soil over with a fork and making neat rows. I used to love to water them and watch every day for the tiny green sprouts to push their way up through the dirt.
In another plot at the side of the house, I had a big red poppy plant that was my pride and joy, and we also had peonies, lily of the valley and daffodils that grew wild in various parts of our acre yard, and which we tended with care. Azaleas and purple and white lilacs with their heady scent graced the entrance to our house. Bertie and I used to prune them every year, along with the barberry bushes that grew alongside the stone steps leading to our back yard.
But what I missed in my Connecticut gardening adventures was growing vegetables. When we used to live on Long Island, we had a small vegetable garden. Much as I love flowers, there was no bigger thrill to me as a small child than picking fresh peas in the pod and eating them raw, or pulling a fresh head of curly lettuce out of the ground, or yanking up juicy orange carrots. It seemed like a little miracle to me that such wonderful things could grow in the ground.
Now I’m a city soul and it’s been years since I’ve had my hands (and feet) in the dirt. I have to confess I sometimes fantasize about having a little plot of land out in the country somewhere, perhaps with a small pond, and lots of space to plant things.