On the mornings that I don’t work until 5 a.m., I wake up at nearly that same hour. I like to go outside first thing, while the coffee is brewing, and hand water the pots and hanging baskets along the patio. We have a water wand that I can use, but I prefer a watering can to dip the water out of our (illegally) collected rain water. There is something so comforting and calming about dipping water. I love that I’m using, in essence, recycled water. I love being that little bit rebellious, collecting free rain despite silly man-made laws that say it’s wrong in our part of the world. I even enjoy carrying the heavy can around and feeling it get lighter with each pot that I water. Of course, it takes longer than using a hose, but in this small time, I also think about so many other women in the world, those who must carry water for everything they need, not just for the pleasure of potted plants, and not just from the barrel by the house to the other side of the patio, but for miles. It’s a sobering thought, one that keeps me grounded and present and grateful for everything I have here.
This year we have herbs (basil, cilantro, rosemary, oregano), veggies (scarlet runner beans, squash, corn, cucumbers, okra), flowers (dahlias, mandevillia, snap dragons, bleeding hearts, daisies) and even fruit (my little lemon tree with more baby lemons on it than it’s ever had). I love to watch the water cascade down the leaves and into the soil, and listen to the happy sound of the earth soaking in another drink.
For the first time in years, we have enjoyed a true spring. Until I look at a calendar, I forget that spring officially lasts until June 21st, and normally by then we’re headed into days and weeks of hot temperatures and arid, fire-ridden weather. This year, we were blessed with more days in the 60s and 70s, a lot of afternoon thunderstorms and overnight rains, hence full water barrels. Of course, moisture brings mosquitos, but judicious clothing and a little spray takes care of that while I make my morning rounds. There’s always a weed or three to pull (and eat if I’m being ambitious), and time to pause under the various trees to stand or sit (on my bench) and appreicate the fruit that will be coming in the next few months. The front apple tree is laden again, and I’m already pulling off some of the apples, so it won’t be weighed down and crack. The Braeburn tree in the back has fewer, but more than it did last year, and I’m keeping a sharp eye on the cherries, hoping the birds won’t take them before they’re even ripe. I’m determined to get more than one cobbler this season, even if it’s only a pint jar of cherries in brandy and sugar to dole out later in various recipes.
The morning stroll around the garden always settles me. I forget how much I love the space, the plants, the birds and bugs that come and go. I’ve had to give up mornings on the days that I work, and I don’t really like that, so I’m doubly thankful that spring has drawn out, allowing me to savor my most favorite time of day.