Standing on the front lawn surveying the vast expanse of green with my sharpened spade in hand, I took a deep breath before plunging the blade deep into the sod.
Methodically I repeated the action over and over again, turning in a circle to strip the sod before digging one of a series of holes needed for a new multi variety miscanthus border. Lined up down the lawn were large divisions gleaned from a Craigslist ad posted by a professional gardener, who included a very lovely unidentified mystery grass tossed in for free and taken gratefully. My very boring and square front lawn does little to thrill me – after getting the feel of the property over fall and winter, I now know where and what will grow and what this space needs…
An hour later, having dragged the tarp from hole to hole so as not to sully the entire lawn with dirt, I had begun what I am sure is to be a long and enjoyable journey in my new garden. Some may see stubs of brown cut off old grass stalks… I see Miscanthus Zebrinus aka Zebra grass, swaying to and fro in the constant breeze off the ocean. I can already hear the sound of that grass moving against itself in the wind, so that at night when I lay in bed it will sound as though I am indeed, right beside the sea listening to the rushes in the wind.
And that’s the magic for me… it’s not just the aesthetic beauty I enjoy and want guests to see, it’s the entire sensual experience. I refuse to grow a flower without scent, and the sound and textures of my garden are as important as the visual appeal. A garden that leaves an impression even if you could not see, or hear…memories of jasmine carried on the night breeze or vanilla scented heliotrope. Scent memories are strong and long lasting and I intend to create many this year…summer nights filled with heady fragrances that entice not only evening pollinators but backyard excursions,laying in the grass watching the endless blanket of stars overhead…
Ha… again I digress. See, gardens do that to you.
Front done for the moment, I headed to the back to tackle my nemesis, creeping buttercup. I admit to a certain kind of admiration for even the very weeds I ruthlessly kill. They grow anywhere, have developed uncanny capabilities of stealth to spread undetected and can pop up in places least expected. Not unlike the Russian influence in the White House… 😉
I digress, but that happens in the garden too. Two very old clematis are starting to grow new shoots quickly so I decided to move an arched trellis over to them, instead of trying to transplant them elsewhere… sinking the base into the soil, I moved to the painstaking task of untangling the vines from their old supports without breaking the woody stems from which the new growth sprouts.
There I stood for nearly an hour, the sun prickling on the back of my neck exposed by my ponytail. Sweat beginning to bead on my forehead in the welcome spring heat, I managed to untangle each vine and coax it onto the new support, securing each piece before standing back to survey my work.
There before me, where last fall had been a massive overgrown pile of weeds,vines and spider webs, were the beginnings of what will be a blooming arch, under which I will place a bench so I or someone else can take respite under the over reaching arms of the cherry tree close by. The dead apple tree has been removed, a deal with my neighbours son-in-law who cut it for me in exchange for the wood for his smoker. He cut some rounds from the trunk and branches too, which I have been curing slowly, then will sand smooth to use as servers and coasters this summer in this very garden.
Pushing back the strands of hair wildly escaping my ponytail, I close my eyes and breathe deeply… this is my peace. This very earth I stand on, dig my hands deeply into, is what grounds me.Particularly in this increasingly crazy world where world leaders act like angry infants whose toys have deadly results.
Covering politics in BC sometimes, is like covering a broken sewer line. The crap is flowing uncontrollably everywhere and nothing ever seems to stop the flow. It’s not pretty and there is very little joy. And for every story that’s been written here, there are a dozen that never make it. Sometimes I feel ineffective. Sometimes I feel like I don’t make a difference against ‘ the machine ‘…And when that happens I retreat to nature, or to my garden…
Here if something isn’t working I can tear it out and start again. I can create beauty where none was. I can sit and plan and think 5 or 10 years down the road- which is critical in planning a working garden-and know that it will work because I have taken the time to put in the grunt work to ensure it.
In other words… I get stuff done.I envision and dream and find ways to make it happen. I create. Everything I feel like I can’t get done in BC politics, I get done in my garden. What frustrations I harbour from there, are channelled into growth and life here. I scout the discount plant sales for neglected treasures others pass by, knowing full well a bit of nurturing care will bring blooms once again.
This Easter weekend, a time for rebirth and renewal for many spiritually, is a time of renewal in my garden. I’m hoping this spring will be a time of renewal politically for the province as well. But for now,the forecast today is for sun and I will be once again outside with my bare hands in the dirt while the kids play, happy in my messy bit of Eden, with a heart filled with gratitude for the blessing small and large in my world. There is a time for politics… but today is not that day. 🙂
Happy Easter my friends…
If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty.
Joy is not made to be a crumb.