Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 80 (Or: How Do you DO This?)

This is the garden I strive for

"I'm in a garden. My own. It started as nothing - in fact LESS than nothing - a barren, compacted, dust-bowl of a yard, with drainage issues..."

If we're going to describe what it's like to live a creative life (and we are - blame it on Kiera, she started it), this is where we begin. A creative life, for better or worse, is like tending an unruly garden...

This barren patch of nothing is, I realize, where every other yard-owning-wanna-be-master-gardener starts, but MAN is it tempting to move to another house, one with a garden already installed, one where there's security in knowing that all you have to do is show up, pull weeds, and reap the harvest of other people's work. And then you get to go back to "life" - whatever "life" is...but importantly, you're not tarrying in the dust-bowl that's a stand in for a yard.

I move piles of dirt around, I break my back, I spend hours imagining a French country garden, or a formal English garden, or a wild-flower garden. And I battle slugs, and I wrestle bushes, and I hack away at that persistent, thorny and invasive blackberry. And I try to keep myself from looking over the fence at the neighbors garden, where the grass is inevitably (and so cliche!) greener, and the hedges are preposterously polished, and even though I know they've taken all the shortcuts, hired big earth moving machinery, had the professionals in, planted the "easy" plants, used copious amounts of Round-Up and Sluggo, I want what they have.

My meager patch of weeds will NEVER be the glory of the neighbors yards. Never. What the hell was I thinking, imagining that you can be a...gardener... I notice the sideways glances from people driving up the street, and I think "if I could JUST manage to move that weed pile, and at LEAST have the boulevard in shape, maybe they'd all approve."

And then it happens. The worst thing imaginable. I'm tending a bed, doing as I should, and I kneel on a slug. Slime's everywhere, and trying to remove it just makes it MORE everywhere. I hobble around a corner, heading for the house and BAM straight through a spider web, and now there's spider and slug everywhere, and those little spiky seeds have invaded my socks, and I'm slimy, and itchy and completely discombobulate by nature's attack on me.

That's it! I can't stand it. I give up! Must-have-chocolate-and-Hulu! NOW! Ignoring is a management technique, right? And what horrible-slug-infested-thing isn't just a little bit more tolerable with chocolate? And if I'm watching re-runs of the x-files, I can't actually see the impending-doom-in-dandelion-form.

And then, two things happen:

(1) That rose bush? The one that's given me fits since I planted it two years ago? The one that I've shaped, coddled, clipped, de-mildewed and de-spotted (who knew plants mildew)? The one which causes me daily to wonder "what was I thinking, planting this fuss-pot of a plant?" It blooms. It's a delicate white, multi-blossomed glory. It's EVERYTHING I've ever wanted in a flower. And more.


(2) Unbidden, un-noticed, a little pineapple strawberry plant has made inroads, and is producing the most divine, soft white ripe and delicate strawberries. I didn't even know it was there, and I did nothing to specifically love this particular plant, it's a gimme. It came about, simply because I was caring for the plants around it.

The garden: Blank canvas, work-work-work, doubt, judgement, work-work-work, frustration, envy, work-work-work, nature fights back, work-work-work, procrastinate and dally and indulge in chocolate, work-work-work, produce something incredible, work-work-work...and back to the beginning, work-work-work.

80 down, 920 to go.

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