A Gardener travels through Time.
My mind often wanders when I garden – back in distant time or recent – and why not? I usually work alone or with the quiet companionship of my resident crow. A curious bird, this young one. We think it is the offspring of a crow I protected and eventually befriended years ago. Much smaller than the parent, it has a similar gray mark on its wing in the same location as on its parent. I found this young bird’s parent struggling on my property in spring 2014 – I wasn’t sure of what had happened to it but it struggled to fly – so I fed it, gave it water, and over time it healed. And in time, it became a friend and helped me though a terrible time. And now its offspring is a friend as well.
An odd thing happened recently while I was gardening. I was deep in the dry soil of one of my garden beds, adding water in the holes I had poked into root zones to keep the water from flowing away, when I heard the voice of my good friend. “Hey, Deb!” We hadn’t been in touch since we last met for coffee months ago so his voice was a pleasant surprise. I looked up – no one there. I stood up, called his name, and walked over to the sidewalk. No one there. Odd. My imagination again, I thought. About an hour later, the postal truck came by and delivered our mail. I opened the mail box and there was a letter from him.
I woke at 3 this morning, against my will. I hadn’t been dreaming – not one that I remember at least. But I woke with a strong sense of sadness, and thoughts of a sister on my mind. As my mind climbed out of sleep and into wakefulness, I thought “Why?” “Why would you do such mean, selfish things?” My mind stumbled around the memory of the acts, and I remembered talking to a friend about her a few years ago. My insightful friend said, “She’s jealous.” Ridiculous, I remember thinking. Jealous of what? For God’s sake, she’s my sister! I love her. My friend replied, “She’s jealous.” To keep from crying, I got up out of bed.
And here I am. Now the garden is on my mind. My spouse, who is thriving in full retirement at long last, has been working out plans to remove a portion of the small lawn in our yard, and to replace it with paving. I’m all for this idea, especially since I don’t water the lawn and it is painful to look at. This lawn – the same that was planted when the house was built in 1942 – has remarkably deep roots. Every summer since we moved in (years ago) the lawn will go dormant, look dead, and spring back to lush green life by the end of September. But this year feels different – now we see patches of bare earth which we have never seen before. This small patch of lawn looks like it’s at death’s door. So, we will put it out of its misery and turn it into compost by next spring. And with hard work and sore backs, we will have a new patio outside our front door by autumn.
And now that I have run through all the thoughts that woke me at such an unnecessary hour, it is time to go back to sleep.
I wish you deep sleep, good dreams, and a strong back.