I keep meaning to get back to my tale of woe about the BSISD, and indeed, I will, as my ability to bitch and moan has no bounds, but right now my thoughts are consumed with other things: I have Spring Fever, when a young girl’s fancy turns to…well, I don’t really remember what I fancied as a young girl, on account of it’s been kind of awhile, but right now I am thinking about how my garden grows.
Since I am deep like the ocean and layered like an onion, even a simple seasonal cliche like that has much profound significance and is fraught with meaningful insight, but I’d like to begin with the literal garden, the one I plant every year. The weather turns, and much like a salmon compelled to swim upstream , I feel I’ve got to get outside and get digging. (I realize that this metaphor is perhaps not the most effective, seeing the obvious land vs. sea conflict, and, perhaps more relevantly that the salmon swims upstream to spawn before dying. The chances of that for me are growing increasingly slim and are highly unlikely to take place in my front yard, but it’s my blog and I’ll write what I please, thank you very much!)
This year is no exception. I started in my backyard and planted cantaloupe (Remember that old children’s whatever-you-call-it that went “Cantaloupe! Mother won’t lettuce”? Get it? Read it aloud…oh, never mind!). I also put in lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, tarragon, zucchini, arugula, chard, kale, green and purple beans, and three kinds of eggplants. One is all white, and called Hansel; one is purple, and called Gretel, and one is really big, black, and shiny, that I call Donkey Dick, though I don’t think that’s what it says on the seed packet. But wait! That’s not all! There are also peppers: Big Early Bell, Cayenne, Thai, Cowhorn, Sweet Banana, Jalapeno and Serrano, and flowers: the happiest of all flora, Gerber Daisies, with big, smiling orange, yellow and hot pink faces; jasmine, to flow over the fence and perfume the morning, and elegant, lavish ranunculus, which doesn’t do well in my area, but still, was too gorgeous to resist.
This is ranunculus. It comes in all different colors, and is a member of the buttercup family.
Don’t confuse it with “radonkulous“, which is how more than one fan describes Erykah Badu’s ass. You can check that ass out for yourself
Anyhoo, back to the garden. That’s just the backyard. I put a lot of effort in it this year, because in the summer, I like to wrap myself up in a sheet and drink my coffee on the lanai, which I believe is Hawaiian for patio. It will be nice to gaze all of the little seedlings pushing through the soil, watching them grow and flower, feeling bounteous and fortunate and connected to nature. In the front I’ll plant a mixture of veg and flowers, which drives my Japanese friend Denichiwa crazy every year. I guess in Japan, vegetables are relegated to the back yard, not right on up by the street. Welcome to my jungle, bay-bay!
I come from a long line of gardeners. Both grandfathers, though one was born in Philadelphia and the other in Hungary, grew magnificent trees, peach, plum, pear and cherries, and I have lovely childhood memories of discovering the fruits among the leaves with each patriarch. My mom’s garden is fantastic, lush, ever-changing, and well-tended. Part of it is hidden. It has it’s own special pathway and a little bench, and from there she can read and sing watch for squirrels over the whole backyard. In this picture, a sunbeam found her in the secret garden and she is happy.
My sister and brother-in-law have an amazing garden, with all kinds of vegetables and fruit trees, from the exotic to the humble. My nephew, who I’ll call Eli in this blog, has a plot in it where he grows carrots and nasturtium and a cactus he calls a “tush plant”. Ed built raised beds and planted an apricot tree this year. Their harvest is my gain; my sister will turn all of their crops into gourmet meals we’ll eat on Friday nights, with wine and toasts and magic shows and banjo sing-alongs.
At this point in the season, when the red, clay dirt that lays just under the surface of the newly purchased, rich, black soil has not yet conspired with the blazing sun to suck every bit of moisture from the earth and air, previous to long nights sleeping sitting up, Breathe-Rite taped across the bridge of my nose, feeling like I swallowed a wool sweater because my allergies have set in, before the tobacco worms (bastards!) start to feasting, prior to me considering a second job just to pay my water bills, and before my eyes scream out in protest of the sunscreen and sweat that flows into them from sunup to well after sundown, all is hope and optimism. The garden represents what could be, a certain harmony, a sense of freedom and well-being. When I am in the garden, I am just how I am, no pretense or self-consciousness, and I feel alive and perfect. Coinciding with my birthday as spring does, I am often given to reflection, and I that always leads to this intense feeling of gratitude. I’ve got it all. I am filled with joy and wonder. I see diamonds in the dew drops on a spider’s web, I dance in the shower when I wash the mud from out of my hair and between my toes, I retell my favorite jokes and I seek out the new.
Suddenly, I remember my fancy, and, birthday or no, I am a young girl again.
I love the garden. I love Spring. I love life.
My friend Krissy, who I wrote about in my birthday blog, died five days later, on March 27, 2010. Many people wrote and said beautiful things about her, including my friend Christina,
http://chmchm.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/krissys-room/, which was only fitting, as she was a beautiful woman. Someone quoted the Beatles “The End” – “And in the end/the love you take/is equal to the love/ you make”, which I think is the most fitting tribute of all to Miss Kris. This entry is dedicated to her. She helped my garden grow in all seasons, and I will plant something special for her, something that is ever green.