Waiting for spring

As the gentle January snow fell outside, I decide to make a lovely beef stew with carrots and onions from the cold cellar, celery grown in the kitchen window and tomatoes put up last fall. Seems a pity to pollute all that goodness with store-bought thyme (currently masquerading as lint in my pantry). So down to the snow-covered garden, we trudge (the dogs come with me). Despite a December defined by subzero temperatures and deep snow, January has been warm. Today’s snow marks the return of winter. Still, even in the silently falling snow, I do not need either a hat or mittens. Shriveled brown stalks of last fall’s broccoli point this way and that over my raised beds like small scarecrows, and straw insulation protecting garlic bulbs pokes through the snow. I have to dig a little to find the thyme. But the reward is a handful of stalks with fragrant green leaves, shining like emeralds. It’s a reminder that even when snow and ice turn the landscape black and white, the color remains for those who look, a hint of tenacious life and of the promise of spring.