The world had hardly changed
when I planted twenty-five seeds, each one a dry husk from which the vibrancy of life would spring. I waited, willing the first shoots to spike through the soil, hoping the slugs and snails would find other sources of nutrition. Within a month, green plants began to take shape, bearing stems that became umbrella handles underneath a ring of miniature leaves.
Some days raindrops pattered down from brooding skies. A few bounced off the seedlings: others landed on the leaves and became tiny snow-globes of life. As rainbows gave way to bursts of sunshine, the plants grew and began to develop a range of markings. This morning there were three distinct colour forms; vibrant green, deep kale green, and mottled green and cream.
Each stalk propels its leaf towards the light. Each leaf spreads in diameter, providing the perfect wet-weather shelter for a mouse. I pick a single stem and twiddle it round between index finger and thumb. I check for signs of butterfly eggs and blackfly, but there are none. I roll the small leaf and squeeze it, inhaling an earthy draft of pepper. I am reminded of piquant pasta suppers in last year’s heatwave.
But no eggs could mean no larvae, which in turn could mean a dearth of white butterflies.
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