Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Slave to a Springtime passion for the earth

… become like me,
Slave to a Springtime passion for the earth.
How Love burns through the Putting in the Seed
On through the watching for that early birth
When, just as the soil tarnishes with weed,
The sturdy seedling with arched body comes
Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.
- Robert Frost, Putting in the Seed

Yuppies are starting to retire. We were the first generation after the Wars and the Depression to enjoy what previously was only afforded to the very rich – the “privilege” of not having to worry about starving to death. The post-war prosperity enjoyed by our parents permitted them to indulge us. We’re the first generation for a long while to have leisure time left over from the struggle to survive.

My generation were spoiled children, fortunate and yet often discontented with our riches. The television shows I now watch are sponsored by ads for long term care insurance, and sixties movie-star sellouts hawking investment opportunities guaranteed to score us that 150‘ yacht when we retire in our late fifties. Many of us not interested in buying yachts or living behind the walls of gated senior communities, are discovering the contentment of gardening.

This week, I am putting the last of the seeds of Spring. Some tomatoes, planted impatiently too early in April, germinated despite the final chills of winter and are now ready to transplant to the garden. It’s gotten to the point when even I have to admit I have way too many tomatoes. And I planted rooted cuttings of mums and geraniums. Most of the sunflowers, directly sowed into chilly ground, failed to awaken. So my final “putting in the seed” will involve planting the last precious sunflower seeds.

Some end-of-Springtime rituals remind me that there is life after a professional career. I survived years of being a slave to The Man. And now I’ve got the leisure time to become a slave to a new passion - putting in seeds in Springtime.

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