To be here and gardening

Rhubarb on 22 March
in my 2020 lockdown file

I was standing on this spot yesterday. It's at the top of my allotment. Below it, a small hazel tree's just shed its catkins, above is a path and the gate. 
I don't remember what made me create a lockdown picture folder but it confirms the conversation I had with my neighbour Bridget yesterday - everything's late. Yesterday this rhubarb was barely visible - one was a small pinkish bud, the other a single leaf. In the same folder there were forget me nots in flower and green alcanet but yesterday I saw nothing but daffodils. 
It is cold. I was cold up there even in the sun. It's wet. I've held back on planting seeds because it seemed too early, even in a propagator. The light's not quite right. I wonder if a blast of warmth will close the six days difference on the date of this photo.
Plants that are normally regenerating by now are doing nothing, the apple trees showing no buds. I'm trying to establish a new herb patch, so I've moved feverfew and lemon balm, pulled up grass and transplanted oxeye daisies, dug up all the leeks because a couple of years ago allium leaf miner appeared on my plot. It's a fly, maggot and pupae and it shreds the plants, attacking garlic, onions and chives too. So Bridget's taking a break from leeks and I'm wondering what it'll do to the chives in the herb patches. I'll miss leeks, chives and onions. What's an allotment without them? My diet's built on them. 
Launching On Poetry
last summer
As I think about the old gardeners - what they knew and recorded, the books I've found with the gardening year illustrated in woodcuts, I realise I'm an old gardener too - two years off 70. It's an odd time, acknowledging an absence of self in the world because age does that to a woman.  Gardening is a way to respond to the feeling of loss. If nothing else, to note this March is cold, the plants are late and holding back. Around me people are struggling. The ground is all we have. We walk on it, grow on it, eat from it. Keep remembering this, I tell myself, think of Jamaica Kincaid, always interesting, always with something new to say about gardening. Let March be what it is. Be grateful for being here.