Mid-Winter Seed Catalogues
It came in the mail today. That manuscript which is second only to The Book in bringing hope to the despairing.
The annual seed catalogue.
To you in warmer climes you might think this is idiotic.
OK. I'll give you that.
But having a burst of euphoria over pictures of green plants and brightly colored flowers is a cultural phenomenon wherever the garden is frozen and white for half the year.
(All those characters in the movie, "Frozen"? Everyone of 'em had a seed catalogue stashed in their bathrooms. Yep. A guy from Northern Minnesota told me.)
One of the great pleasures on a snowy winter's day? Strolling through the seed catalogue in the warmth of the Reading Room.
The Reading Room at our house is small but it has its own electrical baseboard heat. Just barely cracking the wall-mounted rotary thermostat brings the room up to those wonderful mid-summer temps. A quarter-turn escalates the air to "Finnish-sauna" level. A half-turn and you're being baptized, full immersion, in habanero sauce.
I open the Reading Room door and step into a welcoming warmth that won't hit the our front yard for another 6 months. I set the Elixir of Knowledge on the sink and lock the door. After closing the lid on the Reading Seat, I grab a couple of towels off the rack to make the seat nice and cushy. Almost ready...
...and where's the seed catalogue?
I rummage through the Reading Basket in the corner. There's a book on prayer, one on screenwriting, and a Christian fiction with a picture of a bonneted lady looking intently across a windy prairie. Behind that there's a clipboard with the crossword puzzle from the weekly paper.
And then...the seed catalogue.
I sit back and begin walking through the Garden of Eatin' as that peculiar newspaper-print smell wafts off the pages. I begin at "A".
Apples. Beans. Cauliflower.
Ohhhhhh. Daikon radishes!
Eggplant. Fava beans.
The minutes fly by as the pages slowly turn. My feet are tingling by the time I get to Plums. The door knob rattles once then is quiet.
The door knob rattles again. Then again.
I've just found Raspberries when there's a pounding on the door. It's TechnoBoy.
"Dad. I really gotta get in there."
"Okay, okay. Hold yer horses. I'm on Raspberries. I'll be out soon."
"C'mon on, Dad! I won't make it to Zucchini."
Actually, I've never made it past Squash without my feet falling asleep. So it's probably a good place to stop.
Grabbing the Elixir and the seed catalogue, I gingerly exit the warmth on tingling feet. I'm barely into the hallway before TechoBoy shoots by, slamming the door shut.
I smile as I shake my head. Ah, the impatience of youth.
Wandering the four feet to the kitchen, I refill the Elixir before parking at the kitchen table.
The Elixir has a thought germinating. And it's beginning to sprout.
Ever notice what's in the packet? The picture on the front shows this beautiful plant...but what's in the packet? Yeah. Little dark hard seeds. And they're nothin' like the picture.
But plant 'em, cover 'em, water and weed 'em...and there's the picture.
A picture I can touch. That my neighbors and friends can touch.
Another swig. And more thoughts pop up.
"Unless a seed falls to the ground..."
"Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone..."
"Only God know how many apples are in an apple seed."
Seeds. And The Book is full of 'em, too. But in The Book they go by another name.
Those "If-Then" things.
If I believe that He'll do what He says and if I let Him plant His promise, then He says He'll water, weed, cover, and shine on it. And then He says something incredible will happen.
Something that makes me so much more than just a piece of dirt.
I get to be a garden.