Early spring. The rusted metal of my old spade slashes the soil’s crust as I prepare the garden spot behind my old house. This postage stamp of a plot has lain fallow for years, resting, reclaiming nourishment from the mulch of each autumn’s leaf debris. I coax the first matte-brown shovelful from its snug earthen bed, releasing the topsoil’s lurking potential. The clod lifts, rolls over, and breaks down to fertile loam. I swear it sighs in relief, and when its fecund scent rises as grit to my nostrils, I inhale
As I toil in the fresh air of the new spring day, scenes from my life filter through my mind. I squirrel these away like seeds saved in the bottom of a paper envelope, vignettes and scents and quotes and conflicts all duly logged into the creative bank account and bound to find their way into one piece of work or another. Eventually. For although these ruminations are a latent packet of inspiration for a writer, I don’t tarry over them now. In truth, I am creatively tired. In this, my fallow season, as my spirit is regenerated and my life is lived, I rest my mind with this garden work.
(The above essay appeared in slightly different form in “Bylines: A Writer’s Calendar”, October, 2006.)