A little rain stirs magic in a garden. There is no doubt that ozone and rainwater are much better than an irrigation system no matter how good. That’s why all garden magazines are in love with Portland, Oregon and parts of Washington State. Who could blame them? Plants glow from within. It’s why Ireland always looks so lush and green. I’ve visited Oregon and Washington, and they’re beautiful, but I don’t think I could live there (I’m allergic to mold). I’m still vying for that visit to Ireland. One day I’ll get to the land of my forefathers, but in the meantime, I’ll just enjoy where I’m planted.
With such weather, as I weed, I occasionally glance over my shoulder expecting . . . fairies? Or, will it be one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth elves gliding around the arbor? Splendid weather inspires such fancies. I shake my head and remind myself this is the Sooner state, not Middle-Earth, or even New Zealand (where The Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed).
Perfect weather inspires the artist within. No late freeze to halt spring’s advance. No dry-as-a-bone dustiness to mar spring’s loveliness. Everything is neatly marching along, reveling in the ancient dance. Bees are buzzing. Birds are singing.
I am practically on the sidelines just watching and waiting for the next stage to unfurl.
Do you believe that last part?
Ha! That was just the garden fairies making mischief. I am truly enjoying it all, but while feeling the sun upon my face, I am also furiously weeding and mulching. I also ache from all the work, but it is pain borne of joy.
I can’t imagine how anyone doesn’t love gardening, but I meet people who don’t everyday. They look out over the back garden and wonder aloud how much Roundup I used. (I didn’t.) They ask why stuff won’t grow for them, and I feel almost apologetic because I don’t know what to say. Fortunately, my knight in shining armor, HH, rides in to the rescue. From behind Saturday’s paper, he says, “She’s out there at least an hour or two everyday, and that’s on a slow day.”
At this point, the visitor frowns, and I gently shrug my shoulders. They don’t want to do the back breaking work, and who could blame them, if that’s all there was.
I want to tell them, there is so much more.
The scent of lilacs on the breeze.
Watching toads hop from under leaf cover.
Digging a place for a new transplant and finding the ground teeming with earthworms.
How can I make them understand? I don’t care as much about the results as the process itself. Truly.
For me, gardening is a way to step out of time and mingle with all of Tolkien’s and C.S. Lewis’s imaginings. Their works of genius were conceived through their love of the natural world. Within the natural confines where we humans dwell is another place, that which Tolkien described as his Middle-Earth.
I find it when I’m on my knees.
Our lives are full of computers, files and Things Needing to be Done Now. As a writer, mother and wife, I am surrounded by deadlines and commitments, so when I can, I escape to the God-made.
Let’s all slow down and enjoy nature while she’s being so congenial. It will soon be summer, and this spring will never come again.
If you’ve never read Lewis or Tolkien, the best place to do so is before a fire with a bit of something warm to drink at hand. Also, pipe smoke and shelves full of books seem the best setting. They also wrote many works beyond those which are well known. On a cool fall evening, you might check them out.