Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Something good came out of my tantrum on returning home from my grandmother's funeral. I realized that having my relatively new young neighbor dismantle my butterfly garden, in his enthusiasm for neatening up our inbetween strip of land, was a symbol for me of my disability. I am not going to pretend that I've ever been a neat gardening. I haven't. The only time my garden has been neat has been when I've had someone in my life, living in my house, who took care of the tidy part of gardening. However, I've always had a big part in adding magic to my garden. Part of the magic was 10,000 pounds of river pebbles that I hauled 600 pounds at a time in my car to create a breadcrumb trail. Part of the magic was marble and granite chips I hauled from Willmington having selected ones I liked out of a discard pile an artist had on the curb of his house from progects he was doing. Part of the magic were seashells and ocean stones I hauled in my trunk from beach trips. These hard materials blended in with the flowers, ornamental grasses, perennials, mulch and soil in my garden. Having one little garden area dismantled by a strong young man was symbolic both of how much I'd let my garden go, represented by my neighbor thinking a garden was a trash heap, and was symbolic of how fast magic could be replaced by a manicured lawn. That's why I moved fast and shifted stones and pavers from my back garden to the area that had been dismantled because I'm not ready to give up my kitchen window view of butterflies and songbirds who don't care whether it's tidy or not as long as there is something for them to eat. In order for them to have something to eat, I needed to enclose the wildflower area so it didn't get mowed down for good and seeded with grass by a well intentioned neighbor who wanted an easy mowing swipe as he kindly mowed my part of our in between area. What he didn't realize is that I always hoped that the entire area could become a garden and no one would have to mow but at this point I don't need to add maintenance issues but I do need to keep certain parts of my garden intact for the wildlife as much as for me. The best thing to come out of all of this is that I realized I'm so much stronger now. The last time I tried to do any heavy gardening, I was barely able to walk for months. Yesterday, I had my second day in a row of garden work. I not only raked my driveway leaves into piles to be chopped for mulch, I also raked my neighbors leaves since they were from my largest oak. Since he saw a touch of my temper when I know he was trying to do a good deed, I thought I should tidy up the parts he can see and get my leaves out of his driveway. I am having a brief lull in work so it's the perfect time for me to do this. The weather is also cooperating. I can't believe how much my balance has improved with the vitamin D suppliments. I had a few minutes where I even considered getting up on my roof to clear off the leaves there and in the gutters but I remembered the promise I made my daughter when she went to college in 2003 which was before my melanoma dx and the problems I've had since the LND. She had made me promise I'd pay someone to clean my gutters because she had witnessed my rather unprofessional style of doing it in the past and was afraid I'd fall and no one would see me for a long time. So after all the leaves have fallen I'll call the guy who I've been getting to come take care of that particular chore. As to the rest, I am so encouraged to feel like I'm doing well enough to take care of it myself, a few hours a day until winter arrives and hopefully it will be done. The problem with my garden is that even if I could afford to pay someone to tidy it up, I'd never find someone to do what I would want. I can't say, these seedheads need to stay put so the birds can get what the want and the rest can drop down for spring flowers. I can't say, these are weeds that need to be pulled and these are volunteer plants that I want to keep. I guess I might be able to find a horticulture student at NCSU who wants to earn some extra money helping me out but I can't really afford it and I want to do it myself. I think I may actually be getting strong enough to where I can do it myself. I have to be careful since I still have to take a lot of medications but as long as I don't take extras to deal with the garden work, I think it's okay.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I love your attitude about this. Talk about taking a stressful situation and making it work for you. That you feel strong enough to do this is a wonderful thing.

I DO have to say though, that if he'd been my neighbour he'd probably be mourning the loss of the use of his legs at this point. (joking - sort of) Did nobody ever tell him the road to hell is paved with good intentions?

I dunno, Carver, I sometimes think that getting a little bit pissed off almost boosts, or jerks us back to a place we thought we'd lost. It's like that moment of 'you pissed me off so totally' clarity restarts us or something.

I don't know if that makes sense, but something similar happened to me last week, I got so pissed at something and then suddenly I started to feel so much better and clearer.

The pissed feeling didn't last because nothing's really important enough to dwell on that much, but the clarity that came with it did.

I love your garden!