A couple of weeks ago Silas and I planted peas. We put them in the sunniest part of our new garden, with poles and strings in place for when they get tall and bushy. I’ve always enjoyed watching peas grow. Probably because they grow so fast that on a sunny afternoon you practically could watch them grow, literally. But this year I seem to be taking an even greater joy in them. After a mind-boggling hour with Peter, for instance, trying to get him to do his algebra, or at least listen to me as I talk about him doing his algebra, or at least agree that he’s going to listen to me talk about doing his algebra after dinner, I find myself outside squatting beside the garden bed talking to the little pea sprouts.
Good job, I tell them. Keep up the good work. You’ll probably be unfurling your first leaves by tomorrow. Of course, they don’t say much to me. Neither does Peter. But at least it’s warm out by the garden and the birds are singing and sometimes a butterfly flutters by.
Early spring is my favorite time of year. All the things that looked dead, very dead even, begin to put out tiny signs of life, tiny unfurlings of gentle green. Or the dry branches suddenly explode in white blossoms. It’s such a surprising time of year. If we weren’t so familiar with it, and hadn’t seen it happen year after year, we would truly think the world had gone miraculously, magically crazy.
And I feel it mirrored inside myself. I feel the surprising unfurling of things, tiny and green. It’s hard to stay dead inside when all of that miraculous new life is appearing all over outside. I imagine for those gripped by depression it’s harder for the mystery of spring, outside, to get inside. But I’ll go ahead and feel it for all of us.