Time in the garden earns you points
When I was a kid my father used to have to threaten bodily mayhem if I didn’t get my ass in gear and “Get out and cut the *&%$#@ lawn!” Likewise, to suggest that I do a bit of weeding in the family plot was akin, in my bone-idle juvenile mind, to some of the shabbier directives of Simon Legree.
“Don’t you want our place to look nice?” my mother would ask, attempting to appeal to my more sensitive nature.
“Why do I care?” I would shoot back. “It’s your place, not mine. When I move out I’m going to get an apartment and then I’ll never have to cut the lawn or weed the garden ever again.
I was thinking such things yesterday when I was cutting the lawn. I was cutting the lawn because, aside from the fact it needed it, and I hate a shaggy looking lawn, I actually enjoy cutting the grass. It gives me time to think and to sort out all the problems on the planet our world leaders seem incapable of coming to grips with.
I must confess, I still don’t care for weeding. But, what I do care for is our garden. It is the result of an extensive labor of love. It is the fruit of an exertion on our part to turn a remarkably boring and uninspiring suburban backyard into something kind of park like. I think we succeeded. We have a rose arbor, and a fishpond and plants that are going insane due to surfeits of TLC. I’m not bragging, but it looks damn nice.
What was once just a mass of dreary lawn and patio now has walkways, and fruit trees, and other trees and shrubbery that the birds love, and flowers that the bees hanker after.
But, it’s not just about esthetics. It’s about, if I dare say it, spirituality. Working in the garden eases masses of stress and puts me in touch with whatever verities I subscribe to. Since I am a product of nature, I like being attuned in this way. The world seems more right when I spend time out there.
I look over the fence and my neighbor’s boring chunk of lawn an a few untended shrubs and think “feh! Why do you bother living in a house if you’re not prepared to put some love into your place?”
Am I a garden snob? Yes, I am. I don’t think we have the best garden in the neighborhood, but it is a contender. Am I competitive about this? Not at all. All I know is that in a world of disarray, if I can establish some soothing order in my realm, it makes me feel better about everything else.