When all you can do is wait.

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
— Audrey Hepburn

"To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow." I love this quote; I have it on my fridge.

But sometimes it is not the act of planting, but the act of waiting, that really matters.

When you live somewhere like Ontario, this time of year is painful. Because it requires patience. Patience when every part of you is screaming for spring. 

Sure, we're making progress. We've put the snow shovels away (maybe brought them back out once or twice, reluctantly). Warm days show up to tease us, and suddenly jackets are shed and we flock, en masse to the patios. ("Taps aff" as it's known in Scotland.) 

Hints of a new season are here - a Robin, a crocus, maybe the odd whiff of a BBQ - but they're not enough. We're dying for full-on, full-fledged, unabashed, warm, joyous, delicious, colourful, sexy spring.

Come on, spring, SPRING for God's sake!

We're watching it at the edge of the diving board, staring down at the waters below, teetering but too afraid to jump. 

Today I came out to investigate my garden. There is a lot of dead stuff in there. Dried leaves and sticks and weeds. All of it brown and grey and very, very dead. I want to take a rake and pull it all out. Clean it up. Leave nothing but rich brown soil and fresh green shoots.

But I can't. Because of those fresh green shoots. They need the dead stuff. They need it still. They need the mulch. And they need time... more time.

If I took a rake and dragged its stiff, pointy bristles across the soil, those tender, precious shoots and their tender, precious roots would be ripped out, along with the dead-looking but nutrient-dense dead stuff I want to evacuate. 

How many times have you wanted to do the same?

To take a rake or something similar: To do a cleanse or a detox? To spring clean your house from top to bottom? To clear your mind or your body of all that is icky or dead or broken? To take an eraser over the mistakes and messy scribbles of your life?

I am familiar with all of these urges. But whether or not I indulge them, there is green growth happening underneath. Sometimes so small it can't be seen. But there nonetheless.

I need to resist the urge to clean up the mess and let the new life happen on its own time: painfully slow, but certain.

And it is certain. Because even after the harshest, longest winter, spring always comes.