The Earth Moved
I have mud on my knees and dirt in my hair, but I also have a rose bed-in-progress in the back garden. Oddly enough, those three things are related.Perhaps you have heard me speak of how cold and long this past winter was in my neck of the woods. Yes, my jaunt to London/Brussels/Reims offered a delightful taste of Spring in March but upon returning home I was thrust back into veritable Hibernation. It was in these days that I developed the fiercest of loves for roses. It was not long thereafter that I Promised Me A Rose Garden.Fast forward a month-and-a-half to the present and you will find me with no less than five of the rosy little darlings (three Floribundas and two precious David Austins) snuggled up in the sunroom but longing to stretch their roots out in a proper garden -- that doesn't exist yet. Oh, it exists in potentia, it's just that at present it's covered by sod. This is where the digging comes in.This is the part of the show that finds me on my hands and knees hacking cathartically (read: viciously) at the turf with my beloved Ho-Mi -- a smallish handplow of Bronze Age Korean origin that can move mountains (eventually, I suppose.) "No, thank you," I say to the nice lady from the building out back who stops by to offer me a better shovel, "I'm fine." And I am. Back to it -- Hack, hack, hack.With each stroke the Ho-Mi bites into the turf. Slowly -- and with effort -- the top layer of sod rolls up like a carpet and peels away from the yellow-grey clay beneath. Right now I could kick whoever decided to put SW Ontario on top of this clumpy, clammy, unforgiving stuff. I silently curse both geology and the settlers of New France. Living on the bottom of an ancient ocean is nowhere near as cool as it sounds.The work grows easier with time. In the process I forget myself and lapse into all those (I like to think charming, but I could be wrong) habits that I have -- talking to insects, apologizing to plants, chatting up the kitties that wander down the walk. I half-wonder what the neighbours must think, and then quickly forget all about it.I always lose track of time when working out here. When I pop back in the house for a glass of water I am always shocked at how much time has gone by. I don't mind too much -- it feels wonderful to get my hands dirty.Back outside, back to work. I begin to sing. I can't help this as much as I can't help telling the worms I meet how much they're going to like living in my vegetable bed. Over time I've noticed that two songs in particular float to the surface while I'm gardening: Snowbird's Where Foxes Hide and The Real Tuesday Weld's Daisies. I'm sure the neighbours are terribly impressed now.It doesn't matter, really -- they don't have to be madly in love with me. I just hope that they enjoy the garden as much as I do.