My Work

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Of Fear and Despair

This is the time of year that is filled with hope and fear of despair. That may not seem likely unless you, too are one who plants a garden each year. You wait, just as the seed package advises, until the last frost before planting, but that is an unknown time in these parts. It could be the end of April, the middle of May, or even the first week or so of June. There’s the despair.

The ground is worked, the rotted manure is spread and tilled in, seeds are ready, and the forecasts change daily. Rows are plotted out, maps are drawn, and the only thing missing is that last frost. When will we feel safe? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month?

Pity the farmer who doesn’t have an out. No, not a greenhouse, but something that takes up the time that would be spent working in that beautiful garden, filled with green and yellow and red things that taste good and are good for you. In my case, I’m lucky to be a writer. I pound on this keyboard until my fingertips ache. I learned to type way back in the fifties on an ancient Royal. I don’t have the foggiest idea how someone can type with finger’s pads. One must pound those keys, with emphasis, using fingertips.

No one typing before the advent of electric machines and now computers had elegantly styled fingernails. They wouldn’t last through the morning’s memos. When spring arrives, I spend the first two or three hours in the office, say from 5:30 to about 8:30, writing the next great American novel, but unlike the winter or mid summer, at scene breaks or chapter breaks, I’m running outside moving the water, chasing those pesky cottontails, or shooing off the ravens.

The seeds are in, I have trust in NOA, that is, the weather bureau, and we’ve had our last frost. But have we? The furrows are geometric designs for the ages, the water system covers everything, and now, the sprouts are emerging.

No! What do you mean cold front arriving overnight? No! I just spread the last of the straw for the chickens. I wouldn’t need it for the garden. The last frost, remember?

Come morning and the thermometer reads 41, not 31. Whew. Write two chapters and at sunrise walk through the garden, searching for that frost burned squash leaf, and can’t find one. Back to book three in the Ezekiel’s Journey series, a smile, not a frown, and the garden is safe for one more night.

The sprouts take form, get strong, grow toward the sun, the corn will be thigh high on the Fourth of July, and the cucumbers and melons will mature, beans will grow long and sweet, and pea pods will fill nicely. Spring is finally over, the garden made it one more time, but I’m not sure about my id.

The garden is green and orange and yellow and red, Ezekiel’s Journey book three now has more than 20,000 words and a new character, Terrence Corcoran is born and his first book has about 5,000 words pounded into its manuscript. In the summer, it’s a case of doing the proper amount of watering, getting down on your hands and knees ripping those blasted weeds from their homes, and picking what’s ripe for tonight’s meal.

The words flow, the garden grows, and there is no fear of Jack Frost. Oh, spring, you tease and taunt, and from time to time you let me win. It’s a time of fear and despair, and at 5,000 feet above sea level in northern Nevada, sometimes, joy.

Until next time, read good books and stay regular

Johnny Gunn
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