The potential of a new year

The potential of a new year

I’m starting 2016 with a look at my own backyard. As desolate as it seems in the darkest months of the year, grey bark on brittle branches, I remember what it produced.

Over tIMG_0862here, under the hundred-year-old oak were a few serviceberries on a still young sapling. To the north, raspberries on canes that spike into the grass. Closer to the house, a massive mulberry tree that dripped fruit and tinted bird droppings until the walkway looked like a Jackson Pollock.

Planting trees is an act of hope. Watching them through the winter is an act of faith.

I opened a jar of mixed berry jam this morning, as I considered the view. It reminded me of the champion preserves I saw on display at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in the fall. Dozens of jars, shiny baubles of strawberry red, golden amber and deep purple glittered on tall shelves. Showcased in a locked glass cabinet they taunted – look but do not taste.

The fair long over, I like to think those jams and jellies landed on buttered toast and warm scones this morning too. That first-prize-winning peach with sriracha would be an eye-opener. Ribbons awarded, perhaps they are too precious for eating now.

Lined up in cupboards and pantries, in the cold of winter they are still reminders of the year’s potential.

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