I’ve never done this before. Used eggshells as starter pots for seeds. It’s one of those things I’ve read about and thought, oh how clever. But by the time it’s time to start seeds, I’ve failed to remember to save eggshells and the crates they come in, so another year passes. Lately, though, I’ve been going through lots of eggs. That has coincided with the mildest, warmest winter since I’ve lived here – my fifth, though I don’t know how that can possibly be. One thing led to another, and I started thinking seeds and saving egg shells, all at the same time. Clearly, my friends, anything is possible.
Yesterday afternoon, Valentine’s Day, I stopped on my way home and picked up packets of herbs and lettuces that I’ll set in soil in all these eggshells tonight. They’ll be ready and waiting in the kitchen bay window for the sun’s first rays tomorrow morning. Planting is an optimistic act. It’s an investment, a commitment. It’s tilling the earth, nurturing, harvesting the fruits of one’s labors. Garrison Keillor could so put a better spin on this than I can. Nonetheless, whatever else planting is, it is inherently optimistic.
Valentine’s Day was for many years primarily a navigation point on the calendar. Its appearance on the horizon reminded me that my husband’s birthday was near, the 15th of February. Now that date has become its own marker. Six weeks from now, we’ll pause for the anniversary of his death. Neither event has the power any longer to suck out our breath and freeze us in our tracks. The phrase that comes to mind is that “we’ve moved on.” One of those pat, simplistic strings of words that others have used more than we ever did. As in: you need to move on. As in: if I could move at all, don’t you think I would? What we’ve done is gone on. Haltingly at first, in darkness and confusion. But time, as it will, passed, and slowly, and always in retrospect, we began to realize that our lives were once again taking on some momentum.
So every year around this stretch, the son and the daughter and I all talk on the phone, they talk to each other, and we’ve become able to do so in a joyful way. With much gratitude. With optimism.