(Disclaimer: Reading this post while residing in a place still immersed in winter may cause feelings of jealousy and cold fatigue.)
Yesterday, February 6th, marked the annual return of the “Sparky Effect”.
Through the fog of radiation fatigue I awoke, felt the sun through my eyelids, and jumped out of bed. Through the years, no matter where I am living, a day comes which marks the beginning of spring; regardless of what the calendar may say. It’s a day where I look in the mirror and see “Sparky”.
The name was given to me by my kids Mom, Erin, the first spring we were together. We were living in Oregon, where the rain is a constant misty cloud hanging low in the sky. On that day, she had headed off to work.
When she returned 9 hours later and asked, “What did you do today?” I replied,
“I took the dogs on a 3 mile hike, hauled stones and worked on the walkway, went to the nursery and got some dirt, dug out the front flower bed, added dirt and plants, went to the store and I’m grilling steaks for dinner.”
“I’ll just call you Sparky.”
Yesterday, I showered, drove to Napa, through the green hills, (which by summer will be brown), past dormant vineyards all lined up like furrows waiting for seeds, chatted with the radiation techs, and drove home listening to oldies that reminded me of my Mom’s radio in the kitchen as a kid. (My Mom may be the inspiration for Sparky.)
Lunch eaten, boots on, I headed outside to the garden. First, helped Adrienne start the fire for the salmon to be smoked.
Planted the starts we purchased last week: broccoli, beets, rainbow chard, kale, then fava seeds, potatoes with crazy eyes that had been sitting in a bag waiting for a Sparky day. Watered everything, checked the fish, pulled Oxalis (evil evil Oxalis) and fed it to the chickens who squawked and scratched at the delicious treat that threatens to take over our property every year.
Off to get the kids from school, then the radiation sleepiness set in. Sparky’s day was over.
The return of Sparky every year isn’t just about me. Sparky is everywhere. Chickens starting to lay more eggs, birds are going crazy chirping in the yard, the sun is up just a little longer, the bulbs are sprouting through the ground, Oxalis is everywhere, delicate white flower buds are on the quince and the almond tree, and best of all, seed catalogs are piling up in the mail box.
Adrienne, a fountain of knowledge when it comes to anything religious, explained to me that I didn’t discover the Sparky Effect. There is an old Gaelic festival, still practiced by people today, called, “Inbolc”. It marks the beginning of spring, between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. (Check out Wikipedia for more information).
It’s cloudy this morning, I’m off to radiation #20. I’ll take a nap later; but there are seeds on the table waiting to be pushed into the damp ground, fresh smoked salmon for dinner, always weeds to pull and chickens to tend to, but Sparky is back and Spring has sprung.