Friday, October 1, 2010

Garden update

Yesterday I worked quietly in the garden, weeding, turning compost, feeling the sun on my back, the fresh Indian Summer breeze, hearing the birds singing, Taz keeping me company stealing potatoes I had discovered while weeding. I cut the elms attempting a comeback along the fence. I looked around at all that has to be done for the fall cleanup. Squash bugs burned, straw shredded, irrigation lines taken up, piles of compost contained, trash removed.
As I pondered the amount of work to be done, I ironically decided that next year I will garden by myself, that my experiment with community gardening will be postponed a year at least. The garden is a place of peace for me, a place of quiet and contemplation, a place for me to unwind from everything else occurring in my life.  Gardening with another person has its delights, but it is a different experience.
When I set about writing the blog it was meant to be about the garden and about care taking mom and about planning travels. The blog has been weighted with the stories about mom in recent months, partially because I'm writing in earnest about my life with her. Writing about the garden has been more difficult because it's "our" garden. I can't write of my experience without her needing to be part of the experience. And she and I have had very different experiences.
It's not as if sharing the workload hasn't been fun and practical. Nor does this decision take away from the delight my friend and I experienced in the garden together. My gardening friend and I did well, for the most part. She took great joy in this first experience with vegetable gardening, after many years experience as a flower gardener, and I would not want to diminish that in any way.
But I've never felt a complete peace about it. My time in the garden outweighed her time and I would find myself feeling resentful, then selfish, then petty. I would ruminate, telling myself how much I appreciated her help.  Then she would come out and say, "Gosh, this is so much fun. This has been so much easier than I thought it would be." She would take delight, while I would struggle with my feelings, not sharing them with her because I didn't want to rain on her parade.
I want to share freely the bounty of the garden without having to check in with someone else. I want to be able to freeze everything I want to freeze, or dry everything I want to dry, without feeling that I am shortchanging someone else. I don't want to have to call someone and say, "The zucchini are ready, the tomatoes are ready," so that if I harvest them and give them away I'm doing something wrong.
So, I will garden next year on my own, trusting that the little people and the garden fairies will be my companions, that when I need help Ben will be there and that together we will continue to create the peace of gardening.

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