Andie and I have been gardening for a month now. A kind friend gave me a birthday credit at our favorite local nursery and off we go in the early morning hours so that Andie can ride along and stay in a cool car. Andie could actually come into the nursery and shop with me, but I found that it’s too hard to pull that heavy cart around and manage her at the same time. I did try to put her on the cart, but she was not having any of that, because princesses do not, I repeat, do not share the coach with mere vegetables. So, I park in the shade with the windows down a bit and usually pick a spot next to a car or one of those suburban mini-buses that contain another waiting dog unit, so she can have company. The other day, however, she had to share the backseat with three giant Jerusalem Sages and looked like a stealthy panther in a Rousseau painting.
At seventy it takes a week to accomplish in the garden what I could once do in a few hours, but the good news about that is the ‘taking longer’ only increases the joyful time of digging, planting, pruning and yes, weeding—-a meditation that also produces the equivalent of a compulsive’ s perfect resolution or long a distance runner’s endorphin rush.. I think the predilection comes from the ordered discipline of my childhood Catholic school conditioning and the steadfast applications of pure thoughts by sincere nuns.
Sister Mary Five Wounds always put me in charge of the Holy Mother’s May Day Float. Although it would seem that such elementary efforts and manipulations of the doctrinal sort, while creating virtually zilch success in the religious realm have produced true miracles in the ever changing organic paradise of our sanctuary garden. To this day I give Five Wounds credit for my gardening euphoria’s. Who knew that plastic flowers could have such delightful impact on a sinner’s life, pure thoughts or no? It could be that Five Wounds sussed out the ‘gay’ and decided to put its decorative impulses in service to the Lord.
For Andie and me the garden is our unfolding universe this Spring. I suspect that most gardeners hereabouts would agree that climate change is well advanced in our area. Day Lilies, which usually bloom in July are in full abundance now. The effect on the garden is splendid. The Butterfly Bush’s, some of which rise fifteen high are blooming in full colors of lilac, deep purple, magenta, pale blue, white and yellow filling the garden with the scent of honey, mingled with Jasmine, Honeysuckle and Roses. All the cottage windows are open and its rooms filled with the perfume of our labors turned art.
When I’m at the desk Andie often likes to look out the window and watch birds feed at the tsubai , which serves as a bird bath next to the stone lantern near the pond garden. Andie comes and goes whenever she wants out the back door and is decidedly a happy outdoor dog. Like her Dad, she is goal orientated and seems to be hunting plums again. These plums are tiny green raw ones that are falling rather than maturing. She plays with them like toys and has placed them all around our rooms, which in the late night dig into my feet as I stumble toward the bathroom or kitchen. I do consider this a good thing because the frantic episodes of gopher digging seems to have passed and I can now let Andie go out when ever she pleases.
We still take our walks around the neighborhood. Andie loves them and several times a day initiates the activity by hurling herself against the kitchen dog barrier making much racket and then proceeding to sit in the middle of the hallway and wait for me to make all possible. And so it is. This morning we took the Methodist Church walk, that much beloved Andie route that has produced many a tale of her dumpster diving habits of yore.
She seems more selective these days and concentrates on paper products. Today, however was interesting. For two days dozens of cars have been parking in every possible space for blocks around. Not for the Methodist Church mind you, but it’s tiny homely sister across the street from it. This church, which never seems to have any activity within its sparse paint peeling frame, is now overflowing. A snarky neighbor told me that it’s Pentecostal Armageddon weekend and they are waiting for the Rapture. That’s cool, on Monday I’m applying for salvage rights, so Andie and I can be more financially secure, not to mention that, after all, we can do our bit for the divine and make Five Wounds proud. It’s a win win.