In May 2011, after four years of life on McNutt's Island, we moved to Montreal. This blog remains, though, as a (sort of) daily record of our time on the island, and a winding path for anyone who would like to meander about among its magical places. For additional perspectives and insights I recommend Greg's book, Island Year: Finding Nova Scotia (2010), and my Bowl of Light (2012). I'll continue to post once in a while. If you do want to read this blog, one option would be to begin at the beginning of it (which is, as we all know, in blog-world, at the end), and read forward, concluding with the most recent entry. It's a journal, really, so it does makes more sense if you read it that way. But, you know, read it any way you like.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quiet garden

The garden is so quiet that I can hear a single bumblebee wending her way through it. She flies in through the fish net fence and bumbles about before flying out again. She knocks her head against the net as she exits, but doesn't seem fazed.  Outside the fence a bee-feast of miniscule violets lies sprinkled across the grass, pale blue and creamy white. The last of the daffodils that border the garden are nodding, nectar deep inside their gold trumpets where only a bee can reach.  

I turned over the next-to-last bed this week. It will be for squash when the soil is warm enough. The biggest worm I have ever seen lives in this bed. He is more than a foot long, though he was in too much of a hurry to let me stretch him out and measure him. I found the fattest worm I have ever seen in the same bed, as thick as my thumb.  The most beautiful worm in the world may be in here, too. Possibly this bed is a designated zone for prize worms. I would like to give them an award for splendor. Instead, I walk around the garden and peer into every bed to admire the castings all the worms -- big and small, prize-winning and not -- leave behind as they silently munch their way through the soil.  

I planted the seeds too early but I was lucky. Here it is nearly Victoria Day and there has been no late frost after all. Orderly rows of tiny leaves -- turnips, beets, spinach, peas, chard, mustard, carrots -- have emerged, in spite of too much rain.  It is slow going. These are seeds, after all, not seedlings ready to pop out of their little plastic packs. Hidden in the earth among the worms, the seeds unfold and stretch upward. I hover and scrutinize the beds each day, wanting signs of progress, visible evidence that it's all going to be okay. But there is nothing for me to see until, one day, there is. My vegetable book tells me that the parsnips may take a month to break the soil. After my eager bumbling beginning the garden has taken me in hand and is giving me a make-up course in patience. 

More dangers lurk in the weeks ahead. But for now the garden is quietly spinning water and light into food as if that is the most natural thing in the world to do.  

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