My hands ache. The dirt is damp and the cold is working its way into my bones.
I dislike the cold. I avoid when I can.
I look out the window from my toasty warm house and the garden beckons to me. It calls me like the sea. It calls me with a gentle voice, not pleading or wanting, but simply singing me toward her.
I pull on a sweater, pick up the shovel and walk towards the place where the marshmallow was growing. I started these plants from seed several years ago and have tended to them ever since. I've picked their fuzzy leaves, softer than you can imagine. And their sweet little flowers with their purple centres. The frost is upon us and these roots are bulking out, growing fat and juicy. I can feel their mucilage on my hands and I pull them up, their slimy coating working its way into my skin already.
I fill gather my bowl by its large handle and swing it while I walk away from the garden and stroll to the edge of the pines where the burdock waits. Slow and steady I dig a large trench to ease its thick taproot without it snapping. A few more roots and the bowl is full. I wander back to the garden and pick the last of calendula, it's bright orange blooms still holding fast in the cold.
My hands are numb. The ache has dulled as my body moves. I stop to brush the dirt from the roots and put a little piece in my mouth to chew before taking the rest in to wash. They're chopped and left out to dry just a little, letting them pucker up just a bit before infusing them.