March is not exactly my favorite time of year. The weather is not great, for one thing; and when teaching, it is an interminably long month with no regular vacation and, in Massachusetts, the questionably welcome intrusion of MCAS week. Both Easter and Passover usually fall in April and so, with my only claim to Irish descent being via my step-mother, there’s not much for me to celebrate – though I do like the tradition of Pancake Tuesday that my friend K brought back from her year abroad in England.
[Come on, Alaska - really?]
But in all honesty, one real reason I try to avoid March is other people’s gardens. Now is the time when those lucky enough to call themselves gardeners, having spent all winter flipping through seed catalogs and plotting perfect layouts in their heads, actually sit down and order the packets of seeds they will begin to sow as the ground thaws. And I’m jealous. I simply have not had the energy – mental or physical – to plant myself a garden during the past three years of living in as many different houses. All I know for certain is that I’m good at killing houseplants.
[Well, I'm never eating out again.]
What seeds can I plant? As a kid I used to look ahead to the future of adulthood with eager anticipation for the freedom of stability – 25 being the number I haphazardly (and, in hindsight, regretfully) chose as the mark of true adulthood. By 25, I thought, I would have figured out enough in my life to be able to finally, and firmly, begin setting down roots.
[But it can be transmitted through your tears.]
The planting I’ve been doing these days doesn’t feel much like gardening. Much less digging rows and setting stakes, watering and weeding, tending and fertilizing. More throwing handfuls of seeds into the wind, hoping against hope that they’ll land on fertile soil instead of a rocky mountain or a cracked pavement sidewalk. The writing I had promised myself January to attend to doesn’t look, in the end, like it will come to much of anything. My ability to search for teaching jobs is at a standstill as I wait for paperwork to clear and Praxis test dates to approach. I’ve got my Alaska Food Workers Card (and I’ve shared some of the delightfully amusing online test questions with you here), but baking at minimum wage is not going to cut it for long. Even moving to Alaska hasn’t felt quite like the settling of a new life that I was hoping for. I’m eager for the chance to dig in the solidity of dirt, but these days I seem to be simply waiting for the wind to die down.
[Well, at least now you've put as much effort into the question as you're expecting me to supply for the response.]
This is the kind of planting one often does in the unfettered and unsettled youth of one’s twenties (ok, fine, late twenties). And as surely as March gives way to April, there’s always the promise of next season to keep me going. (Though around here, planting season doesn’t actually come until June.)