I’m not ready to write this post, but I must start somewhere. It is part explanation, part apology, part a ploy for commiseration. This is not a farewell post. No, I just signed up for two more expensive years of hosting. Yes, that was a bit of a grouse, but when I tell you about my year to date, maybe you will give me a bit of leeway on my tone of complaint.
I knew the day was coming when I would have to seriously scale back my gardening, but I thought it would gradually creep up on me. This year, however, pain took over my body in such a way that for the first time since I started my own gardens, I could not do any of my seasonal tasks. That’s right: no digging or hoeing, or seeding, or even visiting a plant store. For those who love gardening, you know the torture of not being up to getting your hands into the soil…
Refusing To Give In
As soon as I could, however, I did make an effort to buy plants for the big containers and managed to get those done around Mother’s Day. But then the pain kicked back in and I haven’t had much opportunity to enjoy them. Then to add insult, I came down with a long bout of a truly terrible cold which resulted in coughing until my sides were sore. Listen, I hear violins playing! But I’m telling you it has been sad, especially when you see the state of the garden.
However, in the interest of schadenfreude, this has been a truly terrible season for working in the clay soils of Central Ohio. We’ve become the rain forest of the Midwest around here. I gauge how much rain we have by the flooding near the creeks and the ponding across the road. There has been long term sogginess, so that many farmers never got their crops in. So, even if my body hadn’t rebelled and required recovery, I still could not have had the garden that January dreams envision.
Cavalry Arrived, But Too Little Too Late
I garnered enough pity from my kids to get a little help. I know it seemed like gargantuan tasks to them, but in comparison to what needed to get done, it looks very unkempt around here. On their behalf, they worked hard on a very hot day, and they have jobs, classes, and tests.
It has become a wake up call for me, and I realize that my husband and I must downsize in reality, and not just talk about it. So on the bright side of this year, I have decided to move. Once over the initial mental and emotional goodbyes, I am ready to start a new adventure. We are looking for our new home, in a new state! Hint: I am studying up on plants that grow well in Georgia.
Eventually, I gave into the fact that I can’t cultivate outside, and used my energies and “good days” to slowly try to declutter the inside of the house for the move. This was greatly helped by one of my driven daughters. And so, another silver lining of being laid low by an aging body: the comfort of finding those around you are supportive and caring.
I believe I can still garden somewhat if I lighten to overall load. So a house which doesn’t require so much upkeep and has a one floor plan has me hoping to have the joy of gardening remain in my life. This makes it easier to close the chapter of living in a rural community: watching wide horizons of sunsets, seeing the approach of storms from many miles away, and the quiet of the country.
I can’t say for sure what the timetable on this looks like, but the excitement of a life lived closer to my grandchildren fills me with anticipation.
I traveled during the spring to look at houses, and will likely resume in a couple months. Although attempts were made at blogging, it was difficult to be enthusiastic about writing when grappling with pain and facing so much change. As an introvert, I go within to process decisions and “saying goodbye to an era” in leaving a garden I’ve loved.
But now I feel ready to write about the weather here, the beauty of nature, the joys of the plants, and maybe reminisce a bit. I am renewing my interest in garden planning, too. After all, I will have a yard to care for, just not acres of it.
But I Digress
Then there is the highlight of my past couple months- the birds! I had a little family of house wrens that nested in a window. A family of barn swallows were raised and lived until recently in the rafter above my door by the porch. They got a little messy, but I took care of that by laying cardboard down and changing it so often ( like in a bird cage). So cute to see four little baby beaks peak out of the nest! They are all fledged now.
Pictures? Yes, about that. I tried taking picture of those darling little house wrens, but ended upsetting the family so much they all disappeared within a day. They were ready to fledge and I guess I accelerated their schedule. The parents really scolded me, and I felt badly, but they felt unsafe. I see that they moved onto the other side of the house, but unsure of where their nest is located.
After spending more than a month in Atlanta trying to find a house, still have not been successful. Not for want of trying. I did find a house I thought would be ideal, but my husband did not agree on the price. There is some sticker shock for him when it comes to the housing here plus his list of desires. I will continue to search remotely, from Ohio.
This has been a bit of explaining, a bit of complaining, some hopeful peering into the future, and something of a re-introduction. The rich experience of learning about plants and building my gardens over the years remains with me, even if the actual landscape loses trace of my efforts. Remnant of my work here will be for the future like the evidence I would find of my old dog. He used to love to abscond with stuffed toys and socks. I would be digging in my garden and a sign of his work would be unearthed, and I would remember him as I pulled the half-rotten sock from the soil. Nature reclaims, we can only record.
If you think that thought is maudlin, wait until I begin writing about the trees and plants I’ve lost over the years. But first, maybe I should regale you with tales of decluttering?
Robin Ruff Leja says
I’m still able to garden, but I see that downsizing would serve me well. Hubby now travels extensively, and is no longer much help outside. He’s just able to mow on weekends, but little extras. I’m going to try mightily to stop myself from over planting next year, which will give me a break. And we are also considering moving. But I’m not sure I can go and leave behind my little oasis. Good luck to you!