HOPE & EXPECTATIONS
plan for a short film on the theme of SEED
Zonnemaire, 2 January, 2004
Some snow came on the first day of the New Year. The snow is still there the next day. It’s bitterly cold outside. The wind is blowing across the flat fields and through the barren poplars on the Veerdijk (Ferry Dike). The earth is black, the snow is white. A panoramic landscape.
In this landscape, at a place which has been known as Boombos (Tree Grove) for centuries, our garden is situated. Bare branches of the autumn raspberry, curly kale covered in snow, the permanent rustling of the beech hedge, the turned-over soil where we transplanted the rhubarb. Everything lifeless, it seems.
The zucchini that grew too big in the summer are half rotten. Frozen decay. But the seeds from inside them are all around.
The hard, flowering stems of the garden cress have been thrown on a heap. Their seeds have fallen on the earth and germinated. The first seedlings are standing up straight in the winter cold, far too green.
Seed is nothing but hope and expectation.
Taking on death. The landscape that seems dead.
Although by now I’ve seen winter turn slowly into summer and vice versa plenty of times, I still find it hard to actually imagine the summer landscape in winter.
Each winter the arrival of the seed catalogue is a moment of great significance for a gardener. Hope and expectation.
The very names. We sample them carefully. Bishop’s Lace. Desiree. Prelude. Volhart Winter Endive. Egyptian Beetroot, Spherical.
We examine the pictures, which look oh so green and generous. Hopes and expectations. Would our soil be able to yield a lovely thing like this? If we work hard enough? If we weed and grub? Tolerate no overgrowth? Trim the hedge in time?
The wintry landscape looks lifeless, but seeds are everywhere. In the packets sent to us when we have filled out the order form, as future weeds, as remnants of last season. It’s waiting everywhere, for a chance, an opportunity.
And of course all kinds of things will go wrong and there is danger everywhere. Mole crickets will gnaw off roots. Birds will eat young garden peas. And we will pull up chickweed and ragwort.
But life will triumph.