It was nice enough over the weekend that I actually went out & did yard work. I detest yard work. The resentment is a holdover from when I was younger & my parents actually had a vegetable garden in the backyard of one of our houses. Our (my sisters & I) chores included pulling weeds from the beds. If you’ve ever worked in a garden, you know how thankless a task pulling weeds can be. The roots are firm & there’s always more weeds the next day.
But, yesterday, the weather was warm enough to be out for a while. Dandelions were still pretty puny & all the wind had blown most of the fall leaves out of the beds. I thought, “Oh, this will go quick, I’ll just pull a few things & be done.” Wrong. I spent two hours in the side yard & I still wasn’t finished. I was good & sore, but there are still weeds to be pulled.
I will say that the time was rewarding though. I don’t have the interest or the patience to be a gardener, but as a writer & photographer, I’m always curious in the details & the texture of something. It had been awhile since I had been down on the ground & felt the soil & saw the life in it. I cleared away dead stems from some flowering plant & found ruby-red bulbs pushing through the earth. It felt like discovering a joyful secret.
While I worked in the yard & noticed the fat earthworms I disturbed, I thought back to my parents’ garden. I always seem to remember it in summer dusk, when the moths come out & the moles start to shift the earth. The air is thick with the smell of tomatoes & sunflowers bend their heavy crowns to the earth. Even if the weeds had been pulled, it was a place to be near, to run through, up & down the rows touching plants for no other reasons than I could. Back then, it felt like that was a garden was for. Not to grow food, but to find the life in the ground & feel it grow with you.