This is my least favorite time of year. It’s not that I mind the cold – in fact, this winter’s unnatural warmth has me creeped out – but the darkness. The days are more dark than light since the middle of September, and it’s more than a month until that changes. Every day is a bit brighter, but not enough.
The wait is excruciating.
Every day, the buds on the trees are a little bit larger, a little bit more plump. The first tentative shoots of crocus slip through the dirt in the tree pits. The sparrows fight for twigs to build their nests, or maybe they fight because they’re in gangs, but they are noisy in a way that would be annoying if they were teenagers from the local high school, but charming when we can’t tell what it’s about.
It’s not enough.
In just a few weeks, the calorie pear trees will be in bloom, and the chestnut trees, too. They’ll be covered with white petals, like snow, and the first little leaves will be starting to burst. The daffodils and tulips will splash color across the public gardens. The soil will have the sweet smell of rot that comes with spring rain and spring thaw.
I love that time of year. It’s all about anticipation.
This year, we helped it along. We’ve ordered seeds from Burpee and two blueberry bushes from another supplier. It will be my third attenpt to grow blueberries, but this time, the catalog swears they’ll grow in containers, and that the containers will do well indoors in the winter. We already grow strawberries, and in the past, we’ve had broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, and volunteer melons from the compost heap. If I could grow corn in a planter, I’d be Eddie Albert in Green Acres. Unlike the Douglas’ garden, ours surrenders to the morning glories and four o’clocks.
When spring comes, I’ll get my living room back. All through the winter, the two butterfly bushes have continued to grow. They blossom and smell great even though there are no butterflies indoors. Another plant routinely sheds its leaves in November, and looks like a piece of driftwood in our window. By April, all the plants can all go outside, when there is no further threat of a freeze. By May, the driftwood plant will have slick, deep green leaves.
And, when spring comes, I’ll get to the end of Countdown. I read it religiously every week, which I know makes me a tool. I love Paul Dini and Keith Giffen, and the Pied Piper is one of my favorite characters, so I got hooked, but now I buy it mostly because 1) something might happen and I’d hate to miss it and 2) I’m a creature of habit. I accept my responsibility for floundering around in this tar pit of cliffhangers. Most weeks, though, I have the feeling that there are all kinds of momentous events happening that would be clear to me if I knew my DC Universe better. I’ve been reading DC superhero books for nearly 50 years, and I shouldn’t be having this much trouble. In May, I hope, there will be some wrap-up to the tale that fills in these gaps.
But, in any case, it will be over.
February is dark and dreary. Spring is all about promise.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess of ComicMix, also regrets a warm February because she has to start weeding already.Happy birthday, Valerie!
Martha Thomases brought more comics to the attention of more people than anyone else in the industry. Her work promoting The Death of Superman made an entire nation share in the tragedy of one of our most iconic American heroes. As a freelance journalist, she has been published in the Village Voice, High Times, Spy, the National Lampoon, Metropolitan Home, and more. For Marvel comics she created the series Dakota North. Martha worked as a researcher and assistant for the author Norman Mailer on several of his books, including the Pulitzer-Prize-winning Executioner's Song, On Women and Their Elegance, Ancient Evenings, and Harlot's Ghost.