Monday, July 15, 2013

Notes from the yard

I’m not a gardener, but I’m currently on plant watering duty where I live. I’ve made some observations in the last couple of weeks as I’ve spent some time with the plants.

Watering takes patience. The job will get done when it gets done. Meanwhile the smell of dirt, leaves, and water works on its own to slow me down.

I realize as I water just how many details of plants are right in front of me. I’ve lived here for nine months, but until I started watering I didn’t realize just how many things were growing – and thriving, even in a really dry, hot climate – right in the front yard.

As I was walking toward the plants recently to grab the hose and get to work, I saw from afar a bunch of red spots among the leaves in the strawberry section of the garden. I got genuinely excited and went straight over to pick the berries off the leaves. It is sincerely amazing that plants grow and produce fruit. Simply incredible.

Even really small thorns have the ability to grab onto clothes and rip skin. Just like really small things in life.

I’m starting to understand the point of top soil, and why each plant needs to be tended to with a specific water pressure. I’m not generally a “put two and two together” type of thinker, so I am being serious when I say that this recent job of plant watering has, kind of for the first time in my life, got me thinking about the fact that trees and larger bushes don’t really need to be watered by a human. I was never one to really think about deep versus shallow roots before. You guys might be laughing at me for just now thinking about something that might be obvious or elementary to many, but my brain just doesn’t naturally think that way. I am learning in this garden. I mean it.

When you get close to the ground, or to tree trunks, you see lines of ants racing past each other, carrying food. Like a crowded highway.

The other night I saw a spider making a web – not in the garden, but in the backyard; close enough. I could actually see it moving around the center of the web in circles, attaching a fiber of silk every inch or so. Crazy amazing.

It’s hard, for me anyway, to just open my eyes and look around and notice things that I wouldn’t otherwise notice, despite my tendency toward observation. But when I have a task in front of me, particularly a mundane, slow one like plant watering, there’s not much else to do while holding a hose but look around. So then, later, when I go in the backyard to make sure the chicken is in her coop, I become more likely to notice a spider web being made right in my path. 

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