Spring, Year Four

Spring, year four. Just like each of the last thirty-something years, the blooming of the lilac trees brings with it May Day, my birthday, and the acceleration of Spring into the coming Summer.

For the first time since I was three years old, one of those lilacs is in my own garden. It’s a small start to what will some day become a big tree.

Lilac blossom on a small tree

It’s hard to believe we’ve been here three years already.

Time flies when you’re having fun.

A cat sleeping, with her head stuck out from under a bush

We lived in our flat for 12 years before our financial situation improved enough that we could afford a real house with a garden, but I can probably attribute some of the timing to my Stardew Valley obsession too. I’d completed it around the Autumn of 2018—gold clock and all—and my virtual farm had become stagnant. I’d done everything that could be done, a pixilated family that would never age, a farm and a town that would never change.

I couldn’t bring myself to replay it, starting from scratch, once-friends and once-wife who didn’t even know my name.

I needed some of the in-game life in the real world. I needed to grow vegetables. I needed to live on a street where I said hello to our neighbours.

A cat peering over plants on a windowsill

Well a farm was obviously out of the question, but a year and some later, May 2020, pandemic in full swing, there we stood. A house, a garden, a shed full of rusty tools, and saying hello to our new neighbours.

That was the start of year one. We had a lot to learn about houses and gardens, and there’s still much more to learn yet. But with each passing season we get better. When to expect the last frost. When to plant indoors. How to compost. How to break up rubble and lift logs. How to paint fences. Which plants come back again and again. Which are the best varieties of seeds. How to bring colour to the garden throughout the year.

Brightly coloured tulips in front of a picket fence

Spring will be turning into Summer soon, life is everywhere, and the future awaits.

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