Hail , Gardening - or- My Brain, Migraine
It's been a piss-poor couple of weeks here in Whoa, Lakebegone. There has been no rain.
The heat. It has melted the plastic seedling trays in my greenhouse. The tops of my peat pots are scorched black.
And for the first time, I've failed my garden. I wasn't here for the spring harvest, and in the subsequent heat everything has gone to seed. The garden is a mad ruin of romaine spires, cilantro turned flowering coriander, purple thistles (the devil's own weed) broken down pea plants and radishes and spinach, blooming globes of leeks and garlic, parsnips as tall as sunflowers and wild sunflowers that belong out on the Eastern plains. The garden is a tangled brown mess. It is straw trapped and poking out from a sun-baked brick.
I look at it and think that I will never, ever do this again.
And then I check to see which pods are dry and rattle in my fingers, I open white envelopes, drop the pods in and seal them. Across the fronts I write, 'Parsnip '07', 'Grey Dwarf Sweet '07', 'Sage '07', 'Chives '07'. Maybe I'll plant them next year. Maybe I'll mail them to you.
* * *
You can learn everything you need to know from gardening. You can learn the nature of God if that's what you're looking for. Though the nature of God isn't really a garden, is it? That's more the nature of man. God's more of a wild thing that steals into a neatly-tended garden and wreaks havoc, then turns around and plants patterns in the wild.
* * *
For instance, look at the slug. There's all the proof you need that God is all-powerful and has the sense of humor of a four-year-old boy. I mean, He actually conceived of animating boogers, and then had the power to actually do it. Not only that, but they are thriving out here in the desert like some sort of anachronistic plague, leaving behind skeletal wrecks of the marigolds and pansies.
There are two ways to get rid of slugs. On involves beer and brings to mind an Irish joke. The other is cruel.
These grey defilements of slime were eating the only bit of green as far as the eye could see. So I went in and got my salt cellar and sprinkle sprinkle sprinkle, they roiled and seethed and fizzled and foamed. It was horrible and glorious to watch them dissolve.
* * *
Ah, but the Karmic wheel turns. The slugs got their revenge. One of their massive brethren pulled me over for speeding today. Actually, there were two of them; one in an unmarked car on my tail pushing me over the speed limit, the other standing beside his parked car and waving me over into a neighborhood.
I thought it was a detour. Fuckers.
So he slimes up to my car and I say, “Officer, I'm getting a migraine. I'm trying to get home because in a few minutes I won't be able to see...”
“License and registration.”
As he processed my number and the bright halos of another oncoming migraine intensified, I considered asking him if he would care to escort me home, a mere four blocks away, since my vision was now definitely failing. But I thought (as much as I could actually think) that he might refuse, then pull me over again for reckless driving since I had admitted to an impairment.
He gave me my ticket. Instead of asking him for the escort, I silently cursed him with the worst curse I could think of: I hope your wife hates you.
Then I went one better: I hope you mother hates you.
* * *
Then I went home and cried. I bawled like I've wanted to for months now.
I cried about the ticket.
I cried about spending too much on food because I can't grow any. I cried about the drought and the garden.
I cried about the friend/neighbor who said we needed to discipline the boyos better or they'd never be tolerated in Kindergarten. I cried because nine tenths of my friends live so far away.
I cried about my broken laptop, my broken body. I cried about another bookseller's wife.
I cried about my family, about a poem I wrote for my dead brother, about going back to school, about the future and its uncertainties. About death and its certainties.
But I didn't cry about the slugs. I still draw lines, you see.
* * *
We went outside to water and the sky had darkened. Thunder rolled across the ocean floating over our heads. We filled the buckets anyway, hedging bets, doubting nature, predicting hail. Gardening.
This post is dedicated to Stucco, who sent me a pdf copy of The Book That Must Not Be Named a full 24 hours before its release date, and then cried and moaned on the phone for a new post and didn't believe me when I said I was in the middle of writing one. And I still can't get the damned pdf to work. God's laughing.
Labels: grab the straightjacket she's raving again, heavy cloud no rain, it took him a long time to drown -- he jumped out four times to piss, Maggie's Friday word – Hail, This is my brain on a migraine