A harbinger of Spring

This evening I enacted a yearly ritual: the Impulse Purchasing of Seeds to Rot in My Garage.

This year’s enactment was typical of the ritual. I was at the local K-Mart in pursuit of something entirely other than seeds — on this evening, contact lens solution, Q-Tips, and Scotch tape. On the way to the aisles of my planned purchases I was waylaid by sexy makeup displays. I’m addicted to makeup, especially eye shadow and nail polish, and I have no resistance to the standup displays that Revlon and L’Oreal use to push their latest formulations.

So two little nail polish bottles (B. Outrageous, which is a cheery yellow, and B. Rebellious, which is a sparkly black) found their way into my shopping basket and I commenced wandering the rest of the makeup aisle, searching for my personal Holy Grail: plum-colored mascara. Oh sure, I can get mascara in any color online (see: even red, which I can’t imagine wearing but am tempted by anyway). The thing is, I want to be able to buy plum mascara locally, whenever I need it. But the only colors on the racks are variations of black, blacker black, brown, black, and so on, and so I am free to proceed with the rest of my shopping expedition.

I was by this point feeling mildly virtuous. Sure, I was sucked into buying two nail colors, but they were very small and I don’t have anything like either of them. And I bought no eye makeup.

However, my resistance to further unnecessary purchases had been severely damaged by the makeup. Next I found myself wandering the stationery aisle, buying padded mailing envelopes in various sizes (on sale!) and searching for new types and sizes and colors of index cards. I located Scotch tape and saw that my shopping basket is overfull. Time to find an open cashier and end this farce.

I passed through the pet products aisle and averted my eyes from the cat toys. I could see the checkout — I was on the home stretch!

And then I saw the rack of Martha Stewart brand seed packets. Prominent in front was a starter kit for alpine strawberries. Mom used to grow mini strawberries! I love mini strawberries! The kit includes a reusable mini terrarium and six tiny pots, plus starter dirt and seeds, and Martha’s encouraging instructions. And right next to the strawberry kit was an herb kit, with all my favorite herbs, and a tomato kit. And look! a meadow flower seed shaker, which I could use to fill the nasty sunbaked corner near the garage with pretty, bird- and butterfly-attracting flowers.

So I spent ten minutes comparing options — do I want the kit with lavender or the one with two kinds of basil? — and mentally designing how my yard could look come mid-summer.

Although I do this every year — I have bought the same collection of herb packets at least two years in a row — only once have I managed to get any seeds into the required pots or into the ground. Instead, I have collected a stack of unopened seed packets, some dating to 2000. Seeds don’t keep, but I hate throwing them away and acknowledging my failure. Year after year, I delude myself into thinking that I’ll find the time to buy and prep pots, scrape the debris from my appointed garden area, etc.

The good news is that last year I did manage these gardening feats — granted, it was early June by the time I got the garden started, but even so I enjoyed fresh cilantro in my salsa and made several batches of pesto to enjoy atop my home-grown, vine-ripened tomatos.

And thus hope springs eternal, like Spring itself.