"The wedding", she said with a wise nod, having done the deed herself a few years back, "is the gateway to the honeymoon".
And whenever wedding planning got overly time consuming, as fun as it was, we reminded ourselves that it was the ticket to the 11 days we were spending up in the Canadian Rockies hiking and having daily cocktail hours.
I feel similarly as the holidays approach. I love the winter holidays. There's eating, there's parties, there's cutting down a Christmas tree, there's eggnog, and mulled cider, and cookies. Every gathering seems to involve mashed potatoes, and heck, you could invite me to a closet cleaning if you served me mashed potatoes. Especially if they have cheese in them.
But I digress.
Still, the holidays can be a lot of work. There's the shopping and wrapping and baking. Our December weekends seem to book up by mid-June. And so as the relative chaos grows, and my living room becomes buried under a pile of pine needles and ribbon scraps, I start to look forward to January. A lot.
Because January is when the seed catalogs arrive. And so while everyone else is complaining about the dark and the cold (I whine about it too, just with a 2-week lag while I drool over descriptions of pumpkins and tomatoes), I'm curled up on the couch making lists of things to plant, and with drafting paper, planning where the seeds will go.
I always buy too many. I'm always far more ambitious with the seeds I start than the space I have. But I love seed season - because it reminds me, in the dark and cold of winter, that soon the snowdrops will peek up over the crusts of snow in the yard, and the ice will, eventually, 4 months later, melt.
Usually I'm in no rush though. I'm content to tuck the yard and garden in every year and take the breather that is January-March. No leaves to rake, no weeding to do, few social demands - it's respite from the endless business of planting, growing and harvesting, the start of every year. Lots of soup and bread dinners in front of the woodstove.
But I still plot and plan about growing season again. We all have to choose what we work for. Some people build things in clay or brick. I like to build in dirt.
When the sun rises, I go to work.
When the sun goes down I take my rest,
I dig the well from which I drink,
I farm the soil which yields my food,
I share creation, Kings can do no more.
- Chinese Proverb, 2500 B.C.