“My name is Allison MacKenzie. Where I was born, time was told not by the clock or the calendar, but by the seasons. Summer was carefree contentment. Autumn was that bittersweet time of regret for moments that had ended and things that were yet undone. And then winter fell, with a cold mantle of caution and chill, it nipped our noses and our arrogance and made us move closer to the warm stoves of memory and desire. Spring was promise. But there was a fifth season, of love. And only the wise or the lucky ones new where to find it.”
This is the opening monologue from the film Peyton Place. It’s here because a few weeks ago a reader, Camille, commented on an earlier post entitled Autumn In Peyton Place. She had been searching for the verse and could I help her. I popped in the DVD and took some dictation.
But after I read over the words, it occurred to me that if only seasons could be so easy and uncomplicated that their description could fit into a single — albeit melodramatic — paragraph. If only . . .
Because lately, it seems, seasons are not so neat and tidy. This spring, for example, has been one of the coolest — make that coldest — and dampest ones that I can remember. Even this Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, had snow falling in upstate New York.
At last, we have arrived at the big reveal — the announcement of the winner of Margaret Roach’s most excellent book, The Backyard Parables. So without any further delay, the book goes to . . .
Now did you really think I would jump right in with the winner’s name? Not only am I nitty and gritty, I’m also wordy — and a post just wouldn’t be complete unless I added a few hundred words of my own (as well as a few photos, each one dedicated to a season in my garden in honor of the chapters in Parables).
Parable is one of those Old — no, make that Ancient World words. Just saying it conjures up an image of a toga-ed philosopher sitting on the steps of the Parthenon, eager and inquisitive students kneeling and sitting and catching each one of his words.
That’s kind of how I felt as I read Margaret Roach’s newest book, The Backyard Parables. Okay, it wasn’t a toga party, but I could certainly imagine gardeners arriving from far and wide to her rural New York State garden — gathering about her as she shares the wit and wisdom of her words. (Note to self: find out Margaret’s Open Garden Day schedule.)
Margaret Roach. For years it was just a name, one that I had seen in the masthead or the editorial pages of Martha Stewart Living. Occasionally, it appeared at the bottom of the television as I watched Martha’s show, an identifier of the woman sitting next to the host.
Yes, Margaret Roach was just a name.
When I started this blog, I also learned of the top gardening blog in America, A Way to Garden — and once again, I was staring at that same name: Margaret Roach. Maybe, I thought, there was a reason her name kept entering my world — and maybe, it was time to discover if there was more to Margaret than a name.
When I was in high school and sitting in math class, I noticed that someone who had class in the same room during another period — most likely a girl because of the large rounded, bubbly print — had written two letters on the desk: Hi. So I wrote back — and soon, our shared desktop was covered with a conversation. Then, one day, she wrote her name: Kim.
My friends, adolescent testosterone and nerd-ness surging through their bodies, were jealous and full of fantastical ideas. “What do you mean you don’t know who Kim is?” one of them asked — and he then proceeded to fill me in on the deeds, the actions, the beauty, and the popularity of the notorious Kim.
At the end of the school year, as I was unpacking my locker, Kim passed by and I said, “Um, Kim? Hi. I’m Kevin, the guy from the desk in math class.”
The forecasters have predicted all week about spring-like temperatures this weekend. So when Saturday morning arrived, I jumped out of bed like a kid eager to hear news that school was closed for a snow day. I know mild January temperatures are out of the ordinary — unless this is the new ordinary — but I had big plans for this weekend, even if it was just some basic tidying up of fallen twigs and leaves.
Imagine my surprise, though, when I looked outside and saw nothing but gray and wet. I don’t know if the forecasters neglected to mention rain with the spring-like temps or if I just stopped listening to the forecast when I heard spring.
In any event, I decided to make the best of it — because when life gives you rain on your garden, grab a camera and take some pictures.