Furious Gardening

Furious Gardening May 22, 2019

This is very important. I’ve skimmed like six articles on this critical subject (and also some of the queen’s garden parties) mostly for the clothes, but also because—well, there’s nothing else online I want to even think about, certainly not that Harvest Chapel person biking up and down searching out someone to do away with his enemies. Gardening, like clothes and royals, is a serious business and I for one would like to know the truth about Meghan and Katherine’s true relationship—by which I mean, please keep the rivalry articles coming because I will always click on them.

My own season of furious gardening has restlessly unfurled. Technically, no one up here should plant anything out until Memorial Day. But every year I defy the possibility of late snow and strew seeds and seedlings into the ground anyway—praying to my Father in heaven and and cursing the darkness in a single breath.

The fact is, I want flowers. Lots and lots of flowers. I want all of them to grow and keep growing from three weeks ago until the very last day of October when I finally withdraw to the indoors, having anxiously worn away my garden paths by months of pacing in my big winter coat—the only way to endure the frigid outdoors all summer.

Morning and evening I go out to see if anything is going to survive. While other people go about their lives—to work and to school—I stand hunched against the cold, willing flowers to grow.

Indeed, all the anxiety and stress I feel in the autumn, standing in disconsolate judgement, wearing the same coat, threatening and begging God for the glory of that final effulgent flame, I similarly feel in the spring, only now staring at the ground instead of up into the branches.

While Matt “digs out beds” and strews mulch, I kneel on the ground day after day, reverentially, trying to discern any kind of verdant hope emerging from the dark earth, any green besides the weeds that come no matter what.

Weeds, of course, like sin, grow everywhere, untroubled and strong. They hide amongst the tremulous stalks of the real thing, winding their roots around the prize. If you leave them too long, you are done for. If you pull them out too soon, sometimes you are mistaken—their horrible healthy strength mimicking the shape and hue of what you really wanted to grow. And you have to keep at them—constantly—because after pulling them all up in the morning, there they again in the evening. “This is why we should have mulched,” says Matt bitterly. Yes, we should have, but we didn’t have time, did we. When we finally do, we will have spent weeks and weeks pulling weeds.

That’s how life is. The thing that you should do right away, that would make everything easier in the long run, is so daunting or so apparently expensive that you decide to worry about it later. Coping with a child’s recalcitrant and morose attitude. Facing the ant laden pool of honey on the back of the shelf. Finally clicking on an overstuffed email inbox full of questions that needed answers two weeks ago. Admitting the bitterness entwined around some essential part of who you are. The time to face it was yesterday, but here you are today and it’s as unyielding and intimidating as ever.

That’s why I like to call it “Furious Gardening.” Because the time is short, the end is nigh, there are only days in which anything sublime might grow, and yet the inclinations of sloth, evil, poverty, and rage flourish as vigorously as any desperate hope or longing for beauty. All of life is a kind of fury, a mad dash for the finish line—that perverse, bewitching kind of dash where you are always stopping and forgetting that you are even in a race at all.

We aren’t competing says Harry, and nobody believes him. It’s life or death. Hope or despair. Beauty or ashes. Either the garden will live or die. If you don’t win, you die. The winter comes back and you didn’t have any flowers for your instagram. Oh my word I better go look and see what happened during the night.

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