A Saturday Caesura
It rained in pieces this week. Now the backyard has estuaries and shallow water ports for visiting mallards and blue-winged teals. I find something therapeutic in shedding my day job to slosh around in rubber boots, childlike. Even on grey, damp days I find a particular satisfaction in the labour of hands in dirt, the digging and planting and replanting, the work of the gardener.
I find a sense of place and belonging in knowing the trees and plants growing in my yard. I know exactly where to check for nubby fiddlehead crowns and the first of the lilies to probe for daylight. I train a wild gooseberry bush to grow along the range fence, espalier-style. I say hello to the oldest diamond willow, respectful of its aging bark and cracking limbs. Like many of the fast-growing short-living poplars in our yard, the willow is dying. They all need to be cut down and replaced. I know this, and know this process of growing and dying is the signature of a fallen creation, but I will miss these tree-friends when they go.
I dig up, relocate the lilies and a clump of sedum. I’ll eventually do the same with columbine, Jacob’s ladder, ligularia, hosta, lily-of-the-valley. The soil is heavy, saturated with downpours and drizzles; it drips raw earthy odours. Earthworms wriggle in the wake of the shovel. I cradle the plants in my hands, ease them into their new bed, and pray they thrive here.
I need them to live.
I spread compost, rebuild a small rock wall, clean my shovel, put the wheelbarrow away. It rains, again.
There is goodness in this work. It cultivates and nourishes contentment.