Ghost Gardens

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In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. ~Margaret Atwood

I couldn’t take it another minute, I had to get dirty. I had to make my way to the nursery, not the big box store where they wouldn’t know a frost date if you paid them, to look around… I had to venture into the greenhouse passed the sign that said STOP it’s too early to plant these to see what I could see, to smell the fertilizer and take in the rows of color.

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I have to be in my garden, my tiny little piece of land with shitty soil and no sunlight, in order to fully recover from the winter.  There is only so much I can do now, no tilling or turning or mulching in or pulling volunteers or dividing or sowing seed is necessary anymore. And it’s the anymore part that sometimes gets to me.  Sits me down on the step to wonder what ever happened to my lovely Oaktree Garden?

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This was the second time this year I became nostalgic about my once upon a garden. The first time was during an episode of Parts Unknown: Detroit with Anthony BourdainIn all the ruin that has become Detroit there are “ghost gardens” in and around the abandoned mansions that once were manicured to perfection.  And I wondered what ever happened to my lovely Oaktree Garden.

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Himself mentioned once that it still comes back each year.  Perhaps Sydney Eddison, Horticulture magazine, was right when he said, “Gardens are a form of autobiography.” Perhaps I, too, have left a ghost garden. That thought gives me some solace even though I believe it may have come back with a lesser vigor.  It is no longer tended with the blood sweat and tears that came from the life and frame of mind that conceived it.

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On that same street, right next door is another beautiful garden that I truly hope endured.  My friend and fellow gardener, Harumi, could make anything grow.  She was generous with her knowledge and her cuttings.  I remember to this day the dew on her lady’s mantle and the lilacs and wild iris.  And Benno’s vinca!!!

It occurred to me that ghost gardens are all around us, there is a tiny tulip that comes up on the other side of my porch each year, planted by someone that received it for Mother’s Day.  Same with the two or three hyacinth that come up along another porch in our complex, of course I had to ask…

I wonder if Jeanette’s garden comes up on Woodside Avenue in some form or another with its rhubarb and pumpkins and gladiolas.  I wonder if anything finds its way to the surface from my Grandmother’s garden on Taylor Street.  The fruit trees are gone, but I’m sure the hosta and lily of the valley have remained.  I hope…

I was comforted to look around my tiny little garden space to see the hosta peeking through, the redbud is about to bloom and the wild ginger has sprung back to life.  There is hosta in the front, too,  along with the sedum poking through and the wild geranium and columbine and sweet woodruff.  I’m a bit worried about the hydrangea but worry comes with gardening…

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When I move on from Stowe Lane I believe I will leave behind yet another ghost garden, somehow solace comes in knowing; we come from the earth, we return to the earth….And in between we garden.


Screamin Cherry Red Coffee Cup

In the ever changing world of Ordinary Legacy I’m trying yet another way to send my message out.  Holy video blog, I know, as if hearing the sound of my voice weren’t enough…

In my other ever changing endeavor to meditate, you know the one I began in January of last year, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s all about the right equipment.  Indulge me…

Hope your meditation practice is going well, have a good week.

No Ordinary Haircut

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My dearest friend has never said a word to me. I believe she would if only she could talk and I’ve asked her at times to please talk to me. This week, however, even if she could talk I think she wouldn’t.

Perhaps you’ve followed the recounting of Toti Nonna’s haircut on Instagram this week. Seems an ordinary enough task but as an old dog it really isn’t. It becomes a logistical endeavor complete with bribery, deceit, and contrition.

First, and here’s where I may have gone wrong, I wait as long as I can to begin the grooming planning. All through the winter her hair gets longer and wider and fluffier and woolier. She could actually be shorn for a sweater if I was that weird kind of Martha Stewart industrious.

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Then we set the date, early in the month so that I can put her flea and tick repellent on afterward without it being washed off at the groomer. Then comes the deception, let’s go for a ride in the car for absolutely no reason. She knows what each ride is about like going to Fedex, I wave the Fedex envelopes, like going to Gramma’s I grab the bag of clean laundry and use a special shorter leash. So when we begin to go for a ride using the shorter leash and don’t wind up at Gramma’s I believe I’m not fooling her in the least but I carry on in my delusion.

Then the day comes and I grab the short leash and a “special” cookie, really who the hell am I kidding, and off we go to visit Aunt Sara at Petco. She will pee several times before we go in, even if there’s nothing left she will eeek out another drop. One time she even tried to poop as soon as we got inside the store, it didn’t work. We didn’t turn around. We weren’t even embarrassed because we go so early in the morning no one even saw us.

Sara comes out and coos and coddles her but she puts on the big shake. Every part of her body begins to tremble, it is unbelievably effective in ripping my heart out. And now I have to walk out the door and leave her there. She can throw a guilt producing pout over her shoulder like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

Several hours later I get the call to come pick her up. Those several hours feel like an eternity, the quiet the settles over the house when she’s not around is deafening. No nails clicking on the wood floors, no barking at the FedEx guy, no snoring. I can’t work without snoring in the background. I can’t wait to go and get her.

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She is beautiful. She looks so thin and healthy and young. All her gray muzzle is under her chin, it hasn’t crept up around her face yet. Her belly is grey and brindled. She doesn’t give a good God damn that I am happy to see her and making a fuss. GET ME OUT OF HERE.

Once in the car she pants all the way home. Once in the door she drinks a gallon of water. Once she checks the entire house to see that everything is alright she puts on the stink eye and goes to sleep. She is exhausted. She ain’t happy. She just ain’t having anything to do with me.

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Somewhere in the middle of the night she will sneak up on the bed and curl up in the crook of my legs. All is forgiven in the wee hours but she is far from recovered. She will sleep the next two days away, do what she has to outside and come back quickly.

Today I grabbed the short leash to go to Gramma’s but she reserved her excitement until after I had the clean laundry bag in my hand to walk out the door. All is right with the world now that she is going to Gramma’s. Gramma thinks so too and while my dearest one still hasn’t said a word to me I’m pretty sure I’ve been forgiven. For the love of an old dog I would do anything.