A Word About the Garden: Sign of Spring, Hardwick, VT, #10

Robins land in my garden — how close these songbirds swoop to my hands curiously digging in leaf mulch for the first green bits of garlic, the sage greening at a few unlikely ends.

The garden at our former house spread enormously, surrounded by buckwheat field and forest, the woods spreading unbroken over Woodbury Mountain, territory of moose and black bear, bobcat. The songbirds, leery, remained at a distance. Always, at that house, I sensed a tension between domesticity and the wild, my garden the sometimes porous buffer between human and animal life.

Here, on a sandy moraine with a view of the river, the sweetening bones of Hardwick’s passed souls lying six feet buried beyond the row of lilacs, cultivating this patch of earth will be a different variation of home and wild. We haven’t moved far, but cardinals nest here; at our former house, we had seen only a single, stray, lost red bird.

April showers have fallen for days, and I expect rain to fall for days more. The girls complain, but I think, Let it fall… Water our soil, the knotty clumps of root, deeply, well.

The leaves are fresh after the rain,
The air is cool and clear,
The sun is shining warm again,
The sparrows hopping in the lane
Are brisk and full of cheer…
It is a happy thing, I say,
To be alive on such a day.

— James Stephens, “April Showers”

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