Green Up in Iowa

Blue Spruce Tree

The green up arrived as summer approaches and society wakes up in the season.

Trees leafed out and pasture grasses presented something new and hopeful.

Yesterday we drove south of Iowa City on Highway One. Despite a landscape ravaged by 19th century settlement and 20th century expansion, pleasant scenery appeared in every ditch and around each corner — spring at its best.

That said, the best of spring will yield to summer heat and industry.

Early spring has been a success. Our garden is two-thirds planted and already we have an abundance of greens and radishes. Fruit tree pollination went well. Apples and pears are about a half inch in diameter. I mowed the lawn, producing enough grass clippings to mulch the kale patch. Potato plants have grown almost three feet high. Our garden is producing well.

Spring Vegetable Broth

Because of barter agreements with farmers spring brought enough lettuce to make a salad every night, enough cooking greens to put up 15 quarts of vegetable broth, and rhubarb sauce for garnishment. Labor turned into food in a practical way.

Memorial Day weekend was a time for reflection and homelife. Our yard is alive. A domesticated cat attempted to catch birds. A deer lay in the grass by the broccoli patch leaving a pile of excrement as evidence of its presence. One of the two squirrels was hit by a vehicle on the road in front of our house. I found a new type of bug dining on spinach leaves. There is more action in nature just beyond my consciousness. I played my role as a human — bringing culture in the form of a fence to protect the summer squash I planted. I hung a flag above the garage door and honored our war dead.

The cycle of life is being disrupted by global warming. How climate will change in my lifetime is to be revealed. We’ll work to adapt if possible. Even so, for one long moment, the green up was evident.

I took it in, comforted by its arrival and wondering if it is sustainable.