On Labor Day we who garden ask ourselves if gardening is labor or therapy or fun. The answer is yes. I think the same applies to wood-working, cookie-baking, quilting, and maybe half a hundred other ways in which we invest ourselves. When we were thirty, it was different, and today I thank all those younger people whose labor keeps me going.
The almosts of the garden — I know them and yet I disbelieve. Almost ripe. Almost ready. The bud on the vine, swaddling life snugly within itself, almost a melon, almost a squash, almost a morning glory. I know what it will be and yet I disbelieve. The wonder of it is as new as the almost itself.
To watch is to disbelieve. It cannot be that Puritan-plain dirt conjures such richness of tapestry and ornament, emerald and amethyst, filigree of leaf and tendril. From the muslin of February to the brocade of August there is nothing believable. In a slow burst, the almosts bloom to opulence in velvety defiance of winter’s naysayers.
In the almost is the breath-stop, the cannot-be, that gossamer moment that hovers like the hummingbird I cannot hold.