Skip to content

The tender steely grip of the dirt

I just don’t get it. One minute I’m fed up with gardening and all its unholy dirts and pebbles; the next, I’m singing VAL-DE-RI VAL-DE-RA and strapping on my gardening gloves.

I’ve got my theories, but nothing’s provable.

1. Hunger: I’m reading over Foodgawker and the several hundred carefully selected foodin’ blogs in my RSS feed. In the Northern Hemisphere, which feeds most of the feed, it’s a warm and enchanting summer. As far as I can tell, as of June 21 the upper half of the globe explodes into a sea of fresh raspberries, peaches, asparagus and fiddleheads and the diligent citizens have to knuckle down to picnics, peach canning and pick-your-own pawpaw parties. It’s amazing the economy keeps going at all. Here, where the world is grey, cool and wet, and the morning mist on the lake would make a dead heart thrum, the selections are a little different. I’m not complaining, but I defy anybody to see recipes claiming to help you use up all those damn blueberries and not yearn just a little bit. So the same impulse that makes me say “I’m cold: I’m going to knit a jumper!”drives me to say “I want blueberries: I’m going to start researching locally-viable cultivars!” (Highbush varieties apparently do best.)

2. Anger management: the roses are naked; the fruit trees are stark: they’re asleep. Now’s my chance to cut them back into an orderly form! Take that, grabby roses! Take that, fruit trees serving as a metaphor for the Labor party! WATCH AS I CORRECT ALL WRONGS WITH THESE VERY BLUNT TINY SECATEURS! Whoa, that lead to a darker place than I expected. I just meant, like, pruning and tidying and raking; it’s putting the world in order, y’know? I can’t control much, but I can sure as tits unwind and replait the grapevine around the deck pailings in a more orderly fashion.

3. The delicious appeal of grand plans: a more positive manifestation of Impulse #2. I will distract myself from anything disappointing, annoying, or obligatory by planning out a glorious set of plantings. I can do the washing anytime: I have to research raspberry stakes RIGHT NOW. My garden needs my guidance! WHERE’S MY MUSHROOM FARM?

4. Unexpected harvest: this is the kicker. Just when I’d given up…15 mandarins on the mandarin tree, which has not fruited in about six years. More lemons than I have lemon holes. The frost has cleared away the catepillars, and so the rocket, beets and kale are all coming back. And, oh my, heart of my pants: my first broad bean has pushed a sprout through the leaf mulch.

Oh sprouty land. The frosts quiet the green pulse and I give up — and then you give me citrus and hope and trap me once again.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *