Spring entered my bones last night, carried on the sound of the rain. The window was opened to let the fresh breezes come in, and the night’s temperatures were rendered mild by the heavy cloud cover, laid like a blanket over the sky.
Deep within the earth, dreaming things began to stir faintly, longing to dance to the music of a million drops, and in my dream the dancers had all awoken and the festivities had begun.
It’s still January outside my window, but something shifted during the extended downpour. We had enough rain to cause small flash floods locally, and with a low of only 45 degrees, the soil began to smell alive again.
Lettuce seeds are so tiny. I sat at my kitchen table last night and placed them just so, meanwhile indulging myself in visions of spring salads as beautiful as paintings.
These four will get a head start in a cool spot indoors: Cracoviensis, an Eastern European heirloom with crinkled green leaves and a velvety maroon heart; Speckled Bibb, a joyously freckled butterhead, and one of only two heading lettuces I’ll be attempting in my challenging conditions; Drunken Woman, an American heirloom with wild, mahogany curls, slow to bolt; and Australian Yellow, an exciting heirloom introduction from Down Under with bright, shiny chartreuse foliage, reputed to withstand the heat well.
Regarding that last, even if it didn’t take the heat, well, who could say no to the vision of a shiny salad? This plant looks like it was meant for the flower bed, it’s so pretty. (By the way, I think they should call it something appropriately ornamental, like “Goldilocks” or “Little Miss Sunshine.” But I don’t get to decide the marketing strategies of the seed sellers.)
Bright, shiny salad, maroon-tinged salad, frizzy bronze salad, freckled salad… and various combinations thereof.
The reality now, of course, is somewhat more drab, as you can see in the photograph. Just me, a strong light, a few flats of seed-starting medium, and an old cookie sheet that gets a new purpose catching runoff. I suppose it’s just like meeting the spring in your dreams, but awakening to a misty, wintry, grey landscape.
Good thing we humans have imagination. More than half of any venture, gardening included, seems to be based on the stuff.
Thank you all for the kind wishes yesterday. I’m doing better (I think), but taking it very slow still.