Monday, October 09, 2006
Playing in the Dirt
Sunday afternoon, I got to do something that I haven't done nearly enough of lately. I played in my dirt. There was a time when my best friend and I (somehow, she's still best friends with me - even after we lived together for more than 6 years; some things, I just don't question.) spent part of almost every day with our plants. One of the first things we did after moving into our first home - a trailer that should have been junked about 6 months before we moved out - was plant a garden. We potted plants for inside. We put up a table along the side of the trailer to be our "work area". Part of the "deck" (about 4 square feet of space) was our sick ward, where any plants that were looking ‘iffy’ went, so that they were guaranteed to get attention any time we went in and out of the house. We had tons of fun in that garden, and spent lots of time being silly in it, talking to the plants and trying to make our squash grow (it never really did). Of course, all this talking to plants - mixed together with two black cats and the fact that we were always up late into the night thanks to college and working in restaurants - convinced the neighborhood kids that we were witches. I heard them call us that one day when I went out to walk the dog, right before they ran shrieking down the street away from me. I am not making this up. They never came to our house on Halloween. And is it bad that we kinda enjoyed the reputation? When we left the trailer and moved into the apartment, we had to leave behind the outdoor garden. We were now on the second floor - but we had a HUGE balcony. So we simply put everything in pots. We had pots lining almost every surface. The balcony was wood, so of course when we potted and watered, dirt and water fell down on the people underneath of us. In our Twenty-something self-absorption, we didn't really dwell on that fact until our neighbors to the south put up a sheet of aluminum on the top of their patio, nailed to our balcony, to shield them from the random mud storms that could drip down on them without warning. Luckily, we got along really well with them - they even gave us furniture when we moved out. And when we moved out, we took over 30 pots of herbs, flowers and other plants off the balcony alone, not to mention the recycling bin that we were growing tomatoes in. Then there were the other 15 or so plants inside – including the African Violets that we finally learned how to keep alive.... The townhouse was a work in progress for the two years I lived there, and that's still going on today. By the time I moved in with Hubby a few months before we got married I had already started working on my new yard. The first thing I did was plant my rose bush, and the pansies and impatiens were quick to follow. But then, I started slacking off.
Every few months ok, twice a year or so I do some kind of major replanting, but I don't take the time to do all the maintenance work that I used to love so much, and I never thought about it til yesterday. I figured I had just gotten lazy in my old age.
But Saturday I called Best Friend and asked her to come over and play in the dirt with me ("Gardening" is way too formal a word for what we do). I needed to clean up the mess that had once been a flower garden, and I really needed to prune the rose bush. So we bought flowers and dug and cleaned and planted and arranged. And played in the dirt, and got filthy listening to Billy Joel. And loved every minute of it.
And then we went weed hunting, which has to be seen to be believed because yes, weeds are actually dug up and taken home to be lovingly cared for in her back yard. Some of her favorite plants were found in fields that should have been mowed down. And nothing can compare to the excitement of finding Black-Eyed Susans growing wild right behind your back fence.
And after BF left and I was clean and enjoying a 'fortified' cup of coffee, I realized what’s been missing in my yard for the past couple of years: My best friend. Playing in the dirt is way more fun when there's two.