I always thought that those people who live for winter seed catalogs needed to get out a little more. Now I am one of those people. A couple weeks ago I found myself wondering when Fedco Seeds would be sending its 2008 catalog so I could get a move on next year’s growing plans — not that anybody is going to be doing any planting anytime soon. Well, the mailer arrived yesterday, just as I was starting to wonder whether I’d somehow been dropped from the list. This afternoon I sat down with pencil in hand and thought about what to grow for next year. The Fedco catalog makes for pretty entertaining reading (you see how deep I am into this) and this year even has a title: “30 years of Spring Fiction, 1978-2008.” Very nice. I appreciated the multi-layered reference, opened to the first page, and made my way methodically through all of the vegetable seeds, from corn to tomatoes, pausing on occasion to read Red Sox references to Charlie, who was at his desk working — whatever it is that he does.

Even if I didn’t order a single seed packet this year, I’d have plenty of new stuff to grow, thanks to the stock that’s built up in my seed box. But that’s no object, so I began circling descriptions of early tomatoes, hardy broccolis, a kale with a pretty blue-green leaf, all in hopes of outsmarting the gaps in this year’s garden. I drew plot diagrams on a few pieces of scratch paper then started moving crops around in endless iterations, all the while thinking about how the sun would fall on the plants, about my hands deep in our patch’s black dirt. It’s a guarantee that these plans will change a dozen times more before spring.