Tags: 'Saxa' radish, 'Tatsoi' mustard, cucumber seed, giveaway, half-blogaversary, immortalizing a moment, Japanese apricot, Japanese apricot blooming, joy, lettuce seed, overcoming fear, radish seed, seasonal shift, seed giveaway, signs of spring, six-month-old blogger, South Carolina Botanical garden, spring, spring-flowering tree, the joy of comments
Spring is in the air. Quite literally in the air. I spent an entire hour at the South Carolina Botanical Gardens yesterday, enraptured by the buds and new shoots and flowers at my feet, so much so that I never noticed this Japanese apricot bursting into glorious bloom overhead. Only as I was leaving did I perceive a rosy mist among a thousand bare limbs, a hint of a blush hovering in the air above the distant pond.
I rushed over to stand beneath it, the first flowering tree I’ve seen this season, and managed to snap this one shot before my camera battery died on me. I’m so glad I was able to capture that one; it’s nice to immortalize the moment when spring became utterly real for me, even though winter still holds us fast in its grip.
After all, the ground had a frozen crust that crunched beneath my feet when I went to check on the peas’ progress this morning. Yet as I stood beneath these flowering branches, my heart swelled with the joy and the certainty of spring. If I’d been the demonstrative type, I might have started singing. (Visitors to the gardens are no doubt relieved that my relatively timid public persona forbade it — or would be if they knew what a narrow escape they’d had.)
I’m reminded of the opposite moment, immortalized in another post written at the other pole of the year, when autumn made itself felt to me, even in the midst of a blazing August when it seemed as if summer could never end.
When I wrote about the major seasonal shift from summer to autumn, my blog was just a few days old. I feel a bit like a four-year-old announcing this (only very small children count in fractions), but…
It’s my half blog-birthday!
Six months ago at around 9:00 at night, I pressed the publish button on this blog for the first time. And not a single person read that post for 14 days. But I wasn’t really anticipating an audience, or even aware of how one would go about getting one, and it was better for me not to have one at first.
I was treating the blog as a semi-public diary of my kitchen garden, mostly for my use and to get me past my irrational and near lifelong fear of having others read what I write. Those first entries were basically a transfer of a couple of paragraphs that normally would have been preserved in one of my gazillions of notebooks, never to be seen by other eyes.
Now, this whole approach to blogging may sound strange to other bloggers, but you have to remember I knew almost nothing about the world of blogs. And unlike F. and other academically-minded people, I didn’t bother to research before I launched mine. My style is more jump-in-with-both-feet.
So I did.
My personal goal, enumerated on my other blog (which has its half-birthday in two days), was to publish some bit of writing and a photograph here every single day. And I have done so, by and large, only missing seven days’ postings in six months, by my count, and some of those were due to our DSL going on the fritz.
I also used a “cheat,” posting a quote from someone else and a photograph of my own on occasion, especially useful during those times when I was sick, on deadline for work, or away on my honeymoon. Although I learned over time to prepare posts in advance for emergencies, it was particularly difficult to write them too far in advance due to the seasonal nature of this blog.
Since that first post, I have pressed “publish” a total of 299 times (if you count both blogs), and my words have been read — or scanned, or at the very least glanced at — over 12,000 times. And I didn’t die, after all. Pressing the publish button is no longer nerve-wracking, and it seems that by practicing a little writing every day, I’ve somehow cured my writer’s block and am writing more freely than I’d managed in a decade.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the thing you cannot do.” It seems that in my case, it’s true.
It turns out that letting people read my words is not something to inspire terror; it’s more like a thrill. In fact, my audience turned out to be not scary at all, but rather intelligent and passionate, friendly and knowledgeable, lively and humorous and fun, as can be seen in the more than 1800 comments we’ve exchanged here and at my art blog, and in all of those lovely e-mails, too.
There is no way to adequately express my thanks for all of that interaction, whether it be just reading along or subscribing or commenting or sending me a note. Y’all have been such an integral part of my journey in blogging.
As this anniversary was approaching, I thought a lot about what it has meant to me to have that audience there, and I determined to have some sort of show of my thankfulness. And in keeping with the theme of Victory Garden Redux (how funny is it that I didn’t realize I had a theme when I began?), I’d like to give away some of that most potent symbol of Nature’s mystery and the wonder we all experience when we allow ourselves to truly interact with that mystery; that is, I’ll be giving away some seeds. And because it’s the Victory Garden, they’ll be seeds for food plants.
On February 18th, I will select , by random number generator, three readers to receive a gift of a selection of five varieties of either lettuce, radish, or cucumber seed. These will not be full packets, but a small quantity of seeds of each kind that I have in my seed collection, all suitable for a home kitchen garden.
To enter, just leave a note in the comments and tell me whether you’d prefer lettuce, radishes, or cucumbers in your garden. For those who garden in containers, don’t forget that lettuce and radishes are both suitable, and lettuce in particular is forgiving of relatively cramped conditions. Some cukes are fine in containers, but I have found them a pain because of their need for pretty consistent moisture levels to produce well.
I’m sure that it will not be legal for me to send seed to certain countries, so if a comment from an international reader is selected, I’ll research the rules pertaining to that particular locale, and if exchanging vegetable seeds with you would be illegal or questionable, I’ll find something else garden-related to send instead.
The tradition in F.’s country is that the person whose birthday it is should treat all his or her friends to a wonderful dinner, and sometimes gifts, as well. Of course, in the United States it’s the opposite, with the birthday girl or boy receiving the presents from friends and family. But I like it his culture’s way, really. It’s almost like saying, “Look at me, I’ve survived another year with your love and company and support, and I’m thriving, in large part thanks to all of you. So let’s celebrate together!”
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by planting some seeds (for me, today, ‘Saxa’ radish and ‘Tatsoi’ mustard), and I’m so happy to share this half-blogaversary with all of you.