Thursday, May 17, 2012

The garden of my mind

I haven't written a blog post for at least a couple of weeks—in fact I haven't written anything at all. I have been gardening.

Landscaping a once-bare slope took nearly two weeks, primarily because I didn't buy new plants for it, but cannibalized the rest of my yard. (That meant pulling and divvying out 50+ liriope plants, among other things).

This has become a spring-time ritual for me. I rush to get plants in between the last frost date, around mid-April, and the first mosquito, sometime in late May to early June—when the weather in Maryland also sometimes gets too hot for new perennials to survive (without an abundance of watering). Fortunately, I have been blessed with many clear, 70 degree days, making it a pleasure to be outside.

When I am outside putting plants in, trying to figure out where the next plant will go, I am not thinking about anything else. Unlike most of the other days of my life, I don't think in words, or crave to write anything down. I see plants, and roots, even as I am going to sleep at night. It is the closest to Zen-mind I have gotten. There is no ego there. "I garden," not "I am a gardener." (At its most fervent, even recognition of the specific verb/action disappears).

However, like all tragi-comedies and/or serious garden stories (Adam and Eve being among the first), this one has an unhappy ending. My blissful days in the garden were curtailed when I accidentally pulled a hairy root unlike the others. Eventually poison ivy blisters appeared all over my right wrist. Days later, I am inside doctoring it, typing at the computer, looking at all the lovely greenness outside, still unable to put a glove upon it and go back to the dirt; my need to garden is now slowly receding.

Photo: A close-up shot of a Lenten Rose flower, which is growing in the driveway circle I landscaped last spring.

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