Friday, June 3, 2011


Just before I got in the shower this morning I tried one more time to eradicate the dirt stains under my fingernails caused by the frantic gardening of the past few days. A couple of weeks of rain will do that to gardening plans. So we've been yanking out quack grass, mowing deep swaths and hoping for enough dryness to facilitate putting seed in to the ground. I've never been able to keep gloves on for very long while gardening, so my fingers have taken quite a beating. But they're still stained - at least I can see that they are.

But are the stains such a bad thing? No. At least they're honest. They're proof that I'm not pretending to be someone I'm not - someone with manicured white hands and grace, someone with tasteful gardening gloves that she actually wears. Because if I can't feel what I'm doing with my hands, I can't work properly. The gloves get in the way and prevent me from experiencing what's happening. It's why I don't like putting on cleaning gloves to wash the dishes - how do I know the dishes are actually clean unless I can feel the clean?

And the whole point of the gardening for me is the exercise of hope involved in placing seed/plants into the ground without knowing if they will make it followed by the satisfaction of them surviving to produce food and life. It's one of my favorite magics, like baking and cooking and creating in most forms.

So I will live with the stains for a few days and let them remind me that I still believe it can happen again this year, that I'm not so discouraged that I can't bother to try in the face of a cold, wet, late spring.

Of course, the planting part is the easy part. The consistent weeding and feeding that follows can be difficult to maintain. But every year I assure myself that I can do it, hope for a little familial assistance, and start plodding through it. Because I keep hoping it's going to finally all come together someday and I can say I had the perfect summer all because of the garden. So, here's hoping this is the year. Even if it isn't, it's one more year of practice towards that perfect garden year that will happen eventually.

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