Thanks to a lull between writing deadlines, I hold the luxury of returning to other creative activities, namely this blog. In a previous post, I shared my thoughts on Netflix’s The Crown, dedicating the majority of my words to the dramatic portrayal of Winston Churchill and the masterful acting of John Lithgow.
During the past several weekends, I have been cleaning up my garden to prepare for the coming winter months. Bit by bit, I approached this annual seasonal project: I pulled up the remaining pepper and tomato plants, pruned bushes and shrubs, dumped potting soil into the compost bin and pile, put away chairs and tables, and swept the deck.
Now, a crispness has settled upon the ground blanketed by fallen leaves. The garden is empty and silent. Even the squirrels and birds have quieted down. All that remains is a fig tree awaiting its protective wrapping. Once I cover this tree, the season shall officially conclude. I shall visit the garden when I need a moment of reflection, but there will be no more long meals with my wife or drinks with our friends until next spring.
Memorial Day ushers in the summer for most Americans. When I was a child, summer days burst with wonder and adventure. Even the most jaded adult, I believe, still clings to a notion of summer as a time of leisure, pleasure, and contentment all tinged with magic. Sit in your yard or your neighborhood park and listen to the birds sing as the evening falls. Then, tell me if you disagree.
Since my wife and I bought our home, gardening has become my warm-weather avocation. Each year, we attempt to plant more flowers, more vines, and more vegetables. Some plants thrive and bestow us with a bounty of color and even food. Others sadly sit in the soil until giving up the ghost.
While tending to our tomato plants or sitting beneath the comforting shade of our cherry trees, I find myself experiencing the aforesaid wonder of a child. I watch the bees buzz from blossom to blossom. I listen to the squirrels dash across the fence. I breathe in the wet scent of the earth. I feel the refreshing touch of the wind upon my skin. In the garden, I lose sight of the world, its troubles and my own.