obsessed and, egad, a tad bit compulsive
confession: the scatterings up above–plastic shoes, rubber gloves, old tin bucket and watering can, satchel for twine, trowel, assorted whatchamabobs–they are the first things i pick up in the morn, the last things i drop after dark.
i am, for not the first time in my little old life, a woman obsessed. and when no one’s looking, i might tend toward the must-snatch-that-deal-on-perennials-even-if-it’s-10-miles-away, must-water-the-wilted-now, egad, why-sleep-when-there’s-baby-fleurs-that-need-to-be-tucked-in-the-dirt.
so what if my knee swells and throbs, and my spine scolds me to sit down and haul out the ice pack.
i tell you, people, there are worse things than spending your day (and a part of the night–if the whole truth must be told here) with your wrists buried in mud.
i am fully, completely stricken. i am forgetting to make dinner for my children. i am the last one out of the garden center, finding my wagon by the light of the moon. i am up with the birds, headed out to shuffle around, for the third time this week, the cone flowers and the black-eyed susans. and i couldn’t sleep one wink the night i lay there worrying if the japanese beetles were out in the beds making batches and batches of babies.
ah, but i’ve not dialed for help of the emotional kind. i’ve not even tried to pretend that i’m behaving remotely normally.
oh, no. i am old enough and plenty used to myself and my, er, criss-crossed wirings. so much so that i can, mostly, slap that ol’ swollen knee and get a good guffaw outa myself. at myself, actually.
now, there’ve been times in my life, whole years and years in fact, when i woulda run for the hills should anyone point anywhere in my vicinity with those two old adjectives that loosely defined might suggest “gone overboard,” as in, she has…
obsessed? i shrieked, mais non! i dared to protest if anyone whispered the name of its cousin; you know, the c word, and i am not talking vulgar, merely compulsive.
ah, but that was then, and now i am a wild-haired garden chick who finds the earth my holy balm. it soothes me in these july days of much uncertainty and angst elsewhere in my life.
i am, i think, staking out my claim on my eensy-weensy corner of the planet. i am keeping the big bad world at bay, zeroing in on the few fine friends i find lurking in my yard.
i am making sure a climbing vine gets all the drink it needs to reach toward the sunshine and the clouds. i am sighing with delight as i watch the fairy rose ramble over to where the russian sage is stretching out her lanky arms, her sleeves awash in periwinkle ruffles.
i let the birdsong seep deep down in my soul. i revel in the knowing that she’s so used to me, she doesn’t even mind settling on the branch just inches from my head.
there is a sacred pact in the garden. the citizens of the earth and sky are at peace with those who keep their place in order.
and so, right here in the thick of summer’s bloom, i can think of nowhere i’d rather be, and nothing i’d rather be doing than finding my religion where the hydrangea nod their heavy heads and the black-eyed susans wink at me.
go ahead, laugh at me, trudging up to bed in my mud-caked plastic shoes.
but know that, achy bones be damned, my dreams are sweet and, like my climbing vine, inching toward the heavens.
are you, like me, obsessed? with any thing? is there some pursuit that so fills your soul you could do it every day and every night, round the clock if you had such steam in your pufferbelly? have you, after years and years, come to love the softspots in your soul or psyche? stopped trying to change the odd ways you are? or do you simply like the smell of dirt, and love to dig in your garden?
My garden where I go to get my hands in the muck and bring forth the brilliant colors is the piano keyboard…I plant my fingers in it, I nurture the fledgling sound, and in the fullness of time I share the harvest with many. I sweat and die at that board. I lose myself in it. And I’m resurrected again. It’s a garden 4 feet across and 6 inches back. It’s where I go. I don’t have a job. Haven’t had one for years. All I have is a passion that I get to share.
(Remember: the only way the big nets catch the fish is if they “go overboard”.)
Monday, July 28, 2008 – 10:57 AM
My husband and I have been gardening fanatics this summer. Circumstances have kept us here at home instead of gallivanting off on weeks long summer trips as we done in the past. As a result, our garden has probably never looked better. My husband has been weeding like a maniac especially along the fence BEHIND the old shrubs and creating order out of chaos — which is what he would like to be able to do in another non garden situation. Just yesterday, we moved a bunch of hostas and some iris and added a glorious Annabelle hydrangea to the backyard garden. After we finally got Annabelle all nestled into her new home, we turned on the sprinkler and sat back to admire her beauty with a glass of wine. A little bird, looking somewhat like a mama cardinal but not, tried to find a perch where she could get a little shower. She couldn’t quite find the perfect spot. She flitted from smokebush to crabapple to lilac and began chattering at us. So we listened to her and turned up the sprinkler so she could get a little splash. Her antics brought smiles to our faces. Beauty and happiness in the garden! It was delightful.
Monday, July 28, 2008 – 11:49 AM
wow, as a soon-to-be nester, I can’t wait to start gardening. I am envisioning the hydrangeas and maybe a peonie or two. But mainly I’m dreaming of raspberry bushes in the backyard. I called and asked my mom in MN about where one finds a rhubarb plant, she told me she never knew of anyone buying one, rather, people usually just get a plant from a friend. Any words of wisdom on transplanting rhubarb?
I have been a container gardener for the past few years. I found that when life got hard in the children’s hospital, seeing the new buds on the plants, gave me hope that life will continue, not always in the way that we hope, but life will continue. It also was extremely therepeautic to have my hands in the dirt.
so, bam, hh and all other people who have dirt beneath their nails these days, enjoy and know that somewhere around us and within us, life will continue
Monday, July 28, 2008 – 01:09 PM
mom of 2
hh, thanks for sharing your story. my husband and I have discovered the joys of gardening together, and your story sounds like something we would enjoy as well. i think some of the best times are not when we are off galavanting, but right here at home, together.
Monday, July 28, 2008 – 07:36 PM
i was thinking of your compulsive gardening, and it reminded me of my own tendency to throw myself into a knitting/crotchet/needlework/etc project when i am feeling overwhelmed. for me, there is nothing like doing something physical when anxiety clouds my head and makes me feel disconnected. i like to bury my fingers in yarn, rather than dirt, but i think the impulse is somewhat similar. it’s important sometimes to bring the world down to a plot of flowers or a pair of mittens.
Friday, August 1, 2008 – 10:48 AM