Hard work in the yard

Spring is springing from my yard and shrapnel lashes against every muscle in my body.

The beauty that springs from the blades of tulips and yellow forsythia buds has pulled me out of my home and set me on fire with gardening projects that I neither have the energy nor the muscles to accomplish.

I go through this torture every spring. The brain of a supple, adolescent nature nymph propels my 6 year old body. With my hands on ample hips, I assess the work that needs to be done to ensure a great growing season.

Weeding… check. Rake old leaves… check. Prepare the garden for sunflower and zinnia seeds… check. Plant peony bushes …

My list is longer than my memory.

Direction the hangar. I growl as I lift the rake from its perch on the nail in the wall. He must weigh more than my first child at birth. Its handle hits the door jamb on its way out and the cats disperse.

A tired, bifurcated woman wielding a sharp tool she can barely carry is no one to rub shoulders with.

I set to work on the nearest fenced patch of vegetation; drop the heavy anvil rakes inside the bed and remove the dead leaves. The teeth tear through the earth, tearing off the tips of iris blades and pulling out roots and bulbs. Not good.

It is a bare hand job. With the grace of the Tin Man, I collapsed to the ground. My hands are carnival claws; I scratch my paws along the dirt and pick up bits of nature that no hand should touch. Spiderweb. Rotten and slimy leaves. My cats bathroom cemetery.

Soon after, my knees start to ache and I sit up completely. My glasses are cloudy with sweat, my fingers hurt, and my arms are weak as rubber bands.

When the iris bed is over, I sigh with happiness and relief. Then I remember how many things I have planted in this garden over the past twenty-five years. Small islands of bushy bushes and stems await me everywhere I look.

What was I thinking when I dug all these holes and filled them with work? Why didn’t I just take a corner of the garden to cultivate it, sprinkle it with seeds, and build a wall around it?

No. I planted my garden with GUSTO. On a whim. With an eye for MIGNON CAPRICE. What an idiot.

The nearest tattered nail torture bed is a few yards away. I crawl over to her, hoping the neighbors won’t see and think I need a Life Alert ambulance call.

I want a beautiful garden, damn it, and I’ll have it if it kills me.

Note to self: Call the chiropractor for an appointment on Monday. With the money I pay him, his wife can buy a pretty little bush and plant it in her garden.

Contact Robin at [email protected]


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