I was browsing through some of my old photos this morning and happened upon this one, taken on a trip to New York City back in May 2005 when I was promoting my first book. Looking at this image now, on a cold winter day, the soil long ago buried underneath snow, fills me with a longing for spring and the sudden urge to reach in and rub the leaves of the tomato transplants in the foreground of the shot.
Every winter I long to smell that pungent, warm tomato leaf scent, and by the middle of every summer I have taken it for granted again. I sometimes think that it is this longing that separates those of us who live in colder climates and experience all three seasons from those of us who live in more temperate climates where the winters are mild and (at least) somewhat green. When springtime comes we are like caged animals set free. The smells! It is the smell of warm soil and new life that gets me most.
It’s time to press some seeds into little pots of moist soil. I have approximately 45 plants sitting just behind my office desk. Despite my best effort at surrounding myself with greenery, I think I’ve hit that part of the winter when what I need is the optimism and anticipation that comes when seeds germinate into new life.