By Emil Schmit
Almost spring: Dreams of warmer weather will bring us through from here
Late each winter there comes a time when the huge, deep, pristine white snowdrifts have been reduced to just small, lumpy piles of dirty, rotting snow, areas of mushy slush, and muddy puddles of icy water.
And it is usually about then that most of us realize our patience with the long-dragged-out winter has worn thin. And that we have had about enough of the cold weather and icy roads. Also, that there is no longer any pleasure or thrill connected with going out into the brisk, fresh air to shovel the white stuff out of our paths, and off of our sidewalks and driveways. And if bad roads have kept us at home more than we are accustomed to being there, a mild case of “cabin fever” may have started to set in.
About the only real cure that I know of for that malady is to just do our best and try to be patient. While we dream and make plans for the better weather that we know is just around the corner. Many gardeners are aware of this cure, and use it each year. They gather up all of the seed catalogs that the mail carrier has been delivering since the holidays. They go through them, page by page. There are beautiful illustrations of luscious, ripe red tomatoes. This may be the year to try one or more of the new blight-resistant varieties. And there are pictures of delicious-looking ears of sweet corn. Words printed on the page of a seed catalog can’t even begin to do justice to the flavor of some of the new extra-sweet varieties that have been developed within the past 20 years or so.
This could be the year to set out a small bed of one of the new varieties of ever-bearing strawberries. Or a row of raspberries, or perhaps a new apple tree or two. The colored pictures of some of those big ripe, red beauties can make an apple lover’s mouth water. One of those specially grafted trees that can produce half-a-dozen different kinds of apples would be a nice addition to the back lawn. And on and on.
Some of the real gardeners will accomplish one or more or maybe even all of these ambitious projects. Just as will many farmers and do-it-yourself home remodelers, and sports people who have already laid out a number of extensive warm-weather plans. And then there will always be some of us who will be content to just dream. But, what the heck? Even unfulfilled plans and dreams are better than no plans or dreams at all. They surely beat just worrying, fretting, and pacing the floor as we complain about the ugly weather, and how it seems that this long cold winter has been going on forever, and will never come to an end.
A weak, tired morning sun
Hides behind a gloomy, cloud.
As an old farmyard rooster
Crows, shrill, early, and loud
As he welcomes springtime
To his home on the old farm,
Invites it to replace cold
Days with some that are warm.
Most deep winter snowdrifts
Are now just small piles of slush.
From the fence rows we’ll soon hear
The sweet song of the thrush.
Out behind the farm home
And beyond the small white gate,
The garden lies ready, but
For right now, it must wait
For the old walking plow
And the planting of new seeds.
With warmth and rain, it will help
Fill the family’s needs.
Everyone’s pleased to see
More hours of daylight each day.
Before long we can watch new
Frisky young lambs at play.
Cows penned in the farmyard
Now chew their cuds, as they dream
Of lush green pasture grass, down
By the small, winding stream.
Farm children, this morning
Breathe the fresh air, crisp and cool,
As they wait down by the road
For their bus ride to school.
Soon the flock of sheep will
Be sheared of their winter fleece
Now the farmer cleans his plow
Of last year’s rust and grease,
Changes the tractor’s oil,
Next check’s this year’s seed supply,
While always keeping a sharp
“Weather eye” on the sky.
His wife, always busy,
Patches his old, worn work pants,
Then prepares the hotbed for
Growing new garden plants.
Oh, how dull and how drab
This winter season would seem
If we were unable to
Create a warm spring dream!
Emil Schmit is the 88 year old father of Pam Buttikofer, one of the owners of Imperfect Women. Emil continues to write although age and health issues have slowed him down a bit. He is a is a self-trained poet, free-lance writer, public speaker, and journalist. His weekly column, “Rhyme and Reason,” appeared for over twenty years in the Dubuque, Iowa daily newspaper, the Telegraph Herald. You can read more of Emil’s Bio here. The typewriter pictured on the bio page is one that he sat at for over 50 years creating many of his “rhymes and reasons.”