This April 20 I bought potatoes, onions, and carrots for the first time since last summer. One of the few benefits of this year’s lingering winter on the Prairies is that cold storage pantries have remained cold, so last year’s veggies have kept better than in other years. So, we’ve enjoyed our own squash, carrots, onions and potatoes for nine months! I’d say that’s long enough to birth another spring!
Winter has hung around as long as the veggies in my cold pantry. So it was with relief and hope that I saw tulips bravely sprouting in a front yard in Winnipeg’s North End on April 19. Spring is birthing, even on the Canadian prairies.
It was with reflective gratitude and yes, some relief that I chopped and cooked up this week’s hundred mile vegetable soup. I am grateful for the pause from processing squash, a good supply of which still waits safely in the chest freezer for the days when I’m ready to bake and cook with it again.
I’m grateful, and reflective, as I buy fresh radishes and replenish our stock of potatoes, carrots, and onions. I’m a little jealous of, but also grateful, for places that grow and ship us veggies while our soil remains blanketed by snow.
As we approach another earth day, I am grateful for easy access to electricity and gasoline, without which, among many other things, we’d be facing very hungry days until we harvest food from gardens again. But I also wonder how long the ‘cold pantry supply’ of these resources will last, and how they’ll be replenished for the next generations.
There are enough warnings of climate change and depleting oil wells for me to believe we’re living on an endangered planet. Increasing weather pattern swings are just one indicator. And as for oil supplies, as my son sings in a blood curdling lament, “When it’s gone, it’s gone!” But even here, there are signs of hope.
An embrace of urban farming among young adults in my community gives me hope. Experiments in smaller footprint organic small farms like the one my son’s family has joined give me hope. The farm-gate and Community Shared Agriculture movements give me hope. Articulate resistance to increased pipeline veins under the surface of the earth’s skin gives me hope. The slow resurgence of train travel in Canada gives me hope.
These signs align with yesterday’s sighting of sprouting tulips. Yes, there’s still plenty of snow around, but there’s enough sun, bare ground, and even sprouting tulips to help me believe this winter will end, and we will plant again. And there is enough commitment to live ecologically to help me believe we can learn to live sustainably. This earth day, I’ll start some plants on my windowsill with extra gratitude, determination, and hope.