Well, it’s Memorial Day and around here that means you can finally put in those plants without worrying that they will freeze to death. Luckily, we are pretty far north and there is a lot of daylight, so once those little cuties get in the ground they grow like crazy. Unfortunately, so do the weeds, which tend to get a head start on everything else. So I’ve been spending some time outside digging and pulling and getting nice and dirty. I’ve decided that gardening is like skating. Not the dirty part, and minus the worms, but in in a number of ways:
- You use muscles that you don’t use in other parts of your life. This means that it’s important to pace yourself, which I always find out the hard way after I really get into digging up those rogue ferns and then have to take a nap before dinner. I’ve been doing a little bit as often as I can, which is how I’m approaching skating as well. I’m lucky to have a rink not far away, so if there’s a session open I can just jump in the car or on my bike and get there for a half hour. Even a half hour regularly seems to make a big difference for me. But we’re headed into the dreaded limited public session summer schedule (noooo!) so that will be trickier for the skating part.
- You have to have a plan, or you get overwhelmed. We don’t have a very big yard, but somehow it always seems to get the best of me. I’ve had to break it down into sections (mulch the part of the backyard by that lilac bush today, move that hosta tomorrow) and put aside some of my grand ambitions (repave the entire backyard patio). This really feels like my past year on skates, which once involved the grand ambition of retooling everything I do. I’ve gotten as far as looking at the list of the “ten basic figure skating steps every ice dancer should master.” Master? Sigh, at least I have a list.
- You have to put in a lot of work without the expectation of fame and glory. For some reason, I mostly work in my backyard, which is fenced in and which hardly anyone sees. Maybe it is because we live on a fairly busy street, and it’s much easier for me to be really sweaty, really really muddy, and uttering profanities as I dig out those tree roots (where did those come from? And how did they get so deep?) without neighbors walking by and saying hello at inopportune times. In the same way, sometimes I get in that “zone” in skating when I forget that anyone else is out there. It’s just me, my skates, the ice–oh, yes, and those bright lights up there shining on my cheekbones.
- You have to allow for some time to smell the roses. Only figuratively in my case, because I don’t have roses. But I do have irises–my favorite!–that are just beginning to flower. Oh yes, and peonies too, and those Stella de Oro lilies that rival daffodils for the most cheerful things in the world.
Speaking of daffodils, some years ago I planted 100 bulbs one fall; however, the following spring, not a single one came up. That reminds me of my more unfortunate experiences with three turns! But I think I am finally in the ballpark with some of these turns–came up with some insights at the end of last week that I think will stick. Just have to get the ground prepared correctly and hope for the best! As Carly tells us, “I’m no prophet, I don’t know nature’s way.”
Anticipa-a-tion! I will let you know!