Oh, the grand schemes! Oh, the high hopes of sunny spring days! Oh, the reality of my lack of follow-through.
You know the feeling. Summer stretches out before you like a lazy river in your mind as you float downstream in a mental inner tube.
The whole world seems possible. You will build a grand garden full of gorgeous, colorful flowers. The butterflies will flit from bud to bud like something straight out of a storybook.
Brimming with anticipation you wheel out the barrow only to find yourself, after a few hours of back-breaking labor, sweaty and feeling a bit faint, thinking, “I’ll finish up next weekend”.
Twenty-some “next weekends” later you realize your potential storybook flower garden has turned into War of The Weeds.
And though you may have won the battle that first bright, sunny day, you have lost the war.
Actually, it’s more like I forgot to show up for the war.
Once summer began I had places to go, things to do. None of which were plant flowers and pull weeds in the scorching sun. I blithely passed the flower beds each day, oblivious to the weeds, saplings, and native grasses waging war against me. A silent infiltration, they grew while I slept, inching forward, claiming the nearby steps as conquered territory.
I did briefly notice their aggression when twice, as I welcomed visitors to my home, I witnessed moms politely tell their preschoolers to walk up the grassy hill on the side of the railing. I fumbled casual apologies as the kids hesitated, perplexed, trying to comprehend why they couldn’t just walk up the steps.
The unspoken elephant in the yard was that the weeds smothering the steps were an obvious tripping hazard the legs of children not yet tall enough to top the outstretched wooden arm of a “you must be this tall” clown at an amusement park could hardly be expected to negotiate. The children’s questioning looks were met with, “Just go up the hill, please.”, from their understanding moms. Both of whom know my faults and, thankfully, like me anyway.
And so the summer passed.
When the weather forecast recently hinted at our first single digit windchills of the season the harsh reality of impending winter finally set in. It’s hard to shovel steps with a tangle of roots and weeds underneath the snow. If I wanted people to come to my door without risking bodily injury this winter, I needed to act.
This time I went out with no glorious aspirations that I would build a garden.
There was no parade of shovels and wheelbarrows and other shiny new implements.
Just me battling the windy, 50F degree day in warm-up pants and a fleece liner with a Led Zeppelin t-shirt over it. A t-shirt that for some strange reason had elicited three separate comments from three very different strangers earlier that day.
The sporting goods guy: “Hey! Love your shirt!”.
The beautiful, fashionably dressed woman behind the clothing store counter: “Great shirt! Love it!”.
And the rather smarmy, slick salesman waving nail cream as he pounced out at me in the mall hallway: “Because you like Led Zeppelin??”, he trailed off as I sped past.
Harnessing the power that apparently follows when you display in t-shirt form your love of late 60s British rock bands, I put an end to the vegetation’s reign.
The visual of me corralling the aftermath into a trash bag was a performance worthy of one of those miracle product commercials.
One where the screen jumps to black and white as an incompetent woman fumbles ridiculously to get her uncooked pasta into a pot of boiling water. She groans and winces, flummoxed by the complexity of it all, until the pasta flies up into the air and she turns to the camera with a look of despair.
The sticks were my pasta, the trash bag my boiling water.
On the bright side, here is a look at my indoor garden. My cornucopia of fresh veggies ready to be plucked at a moment’s notice and added to a quick salad.
Yeah. No, I lied. There is no bright side. This “grow a tomato on your counter” kit was foolproof.
Unless the fool never takes the plant out of the wrapper.
“The road to gardening negligence is paved with good intentions.”