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A Detour Towards Hope

I am by nature a thrifty, proceed-with-planning kind of person. So what exactly is it about a garden center in spring that makes me lose all restraint? Something about a hint of warm air, the smell of dirt, and a “We’re Open” sign by the road makes me immediately shift gears. More specifically, downshift! Because I can’t risk missing this abrupt turn! I’ve just got to hightail it in there and peruse all that green glory.

What is this thing that commandeers my being, that makes me throw all normal practices right out of that rolled-down car window? I guess I’ll blame it on the spring air blowing up my nose. It seems to flush the stuffiness of the months of closed-window car trips right out my ears and take any good sense with it! Those full-chested, crisp inhalations are intoxicating and make me hallucinate about those green-tipped trees along the roadway. I’m just sure they are those infamous money trees, and they’re going to share their bounty. That makes it completely fine to buy whatever I want.

When it’s cold, it seems that somehow I don’t even notice these temporarily shuttered greenhouses. I want to be out and about as little as possible, so there’s no time for pausing in the brisk air to smell the lack of roses. But somewhere along the journey through slush and frigidness, there is always a magic moment of change. The air somehow feels cleaner and the sun feels like it’s smiling. And as if out of nowhere, there it is! This beacon of windows and glass-walled rooms stands waving its “OPEN” banners like a race track flagman! Every gardener knows the emergency detour that is suddenly created in their soul.

Spring itself is a waypoint encouraging us onwards. Gina Sutphin

Were you headed to important plans? Well, they’ll just need to be rescheduled. Were you supposed to meet a friend for coffee? Nothing says “I’m sorry for my late arrival” like a potted plant. Were you on your way to work? Surely you’re coming down with a case of Spring Fever, and are likely very contagious. The day has now officially taken charge of its own schedule and must be tended to! After all, it is one of the most Hope-Filled days of the year.

And isn’t that really what this is all about to us? We who garden, garden because we hope. We hope in the seed and the labor and time invested. When winter is cold, we hold that hope that the truth of spring will still find us no matter how dark it has been. When all around us feels bleak, we hope in this thing that we know cannot be changed or shaken: that spring, glorious spring, will always come and there is nothing we can do to change or stop it.

In a world that has felt so very uncertain, spring is certain. It cannot be moved, cannot be injured or stricken with sickness, cannot be tainted, and cannot be bought. Year after year, it has literally and figuratively stood its ground, pressing through unfriendly soil to spread forth tiny tendrils reaching toward the sun. And that enduring hope is what we all carry inside of us. Spring itself is a waypoint encouraging us onwards.

So okay, maybe don’t throw all caution, or financial sense, or promised appointments out the window when the opportunity arises. We do all have a certain level of maturity and character that helps us be mostly reasonable about such things. But just know you’re not alone when you consider hitting the brakes to take that squealing, unexpected turn. And if you do have a moment of weakness and shuck responsibility for the day, you can count on one of us other gardeners to help cover your rubber-laid, tire tracks. After all, we know you weren’t being irresponsible. You were just being Hopeful. And that’s exactly what true Living and Breathing feel like.

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