First Posted: 9/11/2013
WAY BACK IN early May, the world teemed with promise. The planters were upside down and shedding droplets in the backyard, having just had a badly needed hose bath. I’d never fully cleaned out the dirt from the previous spring, see, and placing it into the pots was as far as I’d come anyway.
But, oh, this year would be different.
This year I would not only get myself to the garden store, purchase new topsoil, lug it home and pour it into those pretty pots — a big, bright yellow one, a smaller poppy-pink one and a set of terra-cotta baby twins — but I’d actually take the next step, too, which would be to drop in the herbs that soon would come popping out like crazy.
Into the terra cotta would go the “lesser” herbs, cilantro or savory, tarragon or thyme. No offense to those. By “lesser,” I merely mean lesser-used, at least in my world, where a little cilantro goes a long way. The bigger, fancier pots were for bigger dreams. The yellow would be marvelous for mint, in a summer rife with mojitos and aromatic tea. The pink would be swell for the more elegant basil or some plucky rosemary, either of which always comes in handy for a gourmet grilled cheese. This year I might try that on the actual grill, too.
Oh, the plans I had. Herbs were just a blip on The List 2013.
Ha. Summer, you big tease. Here today and gone tomorrow. Again.
Stood at my kitchen window this morning — sometimes I call it the pane of pain — and once again took stock of the life I forgot to live. Tradition has held, and the list, originally named “to do,” quickly turned into “to don’t” or at least “not yet.”
No, there were no herbs this summer. The pots still sit upside down, where I left them in April, taunting me; this year I didn’t even get as far as the dirt, for crying out loud.
Not going to lie; summer was rough, with other designs on my time.
All the appliances were to fail in orderly fashion, for one thing, meaning a lot of researching and price-shopping and other related headaches. And the basement that became a minor-catastrophe victim in spring turned into an easily half-the-summer project that swallowed the days without counting calories. I’m still picking up — nay, shredding — the pieces.
But there is an upside to forced basement cleaning: Moving mountains of paperwork up two floors sometimes leaves no choice but to sort and purge in short order, lest you have to look at all that stuff every day.
A 10-year-old credit score isn’t going to do me any good now, and I think it’s safe to throw out the tax forms from the ’90s while I’m at it as well.
Yet for all the good the great eradication did, what I did not throw out was equally time-consuming. Hours that could have been spent soaking up Vitamin D were more than once whiled away looking wistfully through everything from old birthday and holiday cards to actual hand-written letters. Kids, in ancient times, people with something to say often put pen to paper and sometimes even used something called cursive …
Ah, but what good is looking back when we can be moving forward?
So summer was shorter than it was sweet; it will nonetheless return, and bid it farewell we must. Now let there be apples and pumpkins and cider and crows. And at least one big, floppy stuffed creature to scare off the latter.
Let the herb pots go back into storage, with the tiki lamps, citronella candles and beach toys. But let next year make up for this year, please.
Hey, speaking of this year, welcome back, almost-autumn. Do I have plans for you. Fresh pumpkins will turn into real jack-o-lanterns, and I think I’ll roast the seeds, too. Cider, if you ask me, is best served in homemade doughnuts. And scarecrows would love to sit atop some artistically designed hay bales. I’ll have to check my Pinterest …
What? Don’t believe me? I’m all talk?
Ring me in December. For the moment, it’s game on.