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July 11.20: Coping




Yesterday I read a blog that asked if the reader has any gardening disappointments this year. Is he kidding? “Gardening” and “disappointment” go together like echinacea and Japanese beetles.

This is my third gardening season here; if you are a gardener, you know the third season is the beginning of seeing the garden as your own. For me, two distinct garden worlds: a bit shady in the front, a lot sunny in the back. Yes, Indiana clay and nasty root systems, exuberant invasives, malicious rabbits and chipmunks. But gradually mine.

Problems with a contractor have made it impossible for me to plant anything in the back this summer. All I have is a struggling collection of gangly seedlings with no place to grow. Empty tomato cages. No frilly yellow blossoms morphing into reds and golds. Not merely disappointment: it’s loss.

Gardeners survive the winter because they know a garden is coming, so when the garden fizzles the gardener kind of fizzles too. She might even let slip an imprecation. Maybe two.

Not everyone is a gardener, of course, but everyone has disappointments. And losses. It seems to me they are all felt more deeply this year because isolation is fertile ground for deep feelings.

So we cope, best we can, with emptiness where there should be life, and watch disappointment become loss, but we should never underestimate the toll it’s taking on us.




8 thoughts on “July 11.20: Coping

  1. I cannot believe you have been there three seasons – it seems hardly a weekend since you were packing. I’m sorry the garden is not providing more comfort. Mine isn’t too good at the moment. It’s in-between the bluebells and the Japanese anemones at the front and the less said about my garden peas the better. Mind you, any peas that do come will be very welcome.

    It’s natural to hope for comfort, sizzle and distraction from our gardens, and disappointments aside, we do get some of all three, but the finest garden in the world can’t prevent this from being a dire time. It is extra cruel to be being deprived of tomatoes at the moment though. I sigh along with you.

    • Thank you for the empathetic sighs. They do help. You are so right about this “dire time” — nothing short of Eden itself would ameliorate this direness. It is as sad about your peas as for my tomatoes. It doesn’t take much to make a gardener happy — peas and tomatoes, after all, don’t seem like much to ask of life — but sometimes even little joys can’t be had. I’m hoping you get at least some peas; there is more than one kind of sustenance in them.

      And indeed this November will mark the three-year anniversary of my move to this place. In this last year, I’ve finally — FINALLY! — felt as though I know where things are. Mostly.

  2. I feel your gardening loss, and I learned a new word to describe when I let a bad word rip. However, the last words of the post, “…never underestimate the toll it’s taking on us.”, are so true they hurt. Maybe the younger folks will survive this and find a chuckle down the road, but I’m thinking seniors won’t find many chuckles in working through or remembering 2020. Forced isolation is a form of torture, and that is what we have been enduring for four months now. I find myself out of patience, annoyed, and sad. Oh well, I best get over it because I don’t see it chancing any time soon. And, maybe one of your brawny sons needs to pay that contractor a personal visit and speak mask to mask and get that project finished for you. 🙂

    • Thank you for the laugh!! The idea of either of my brawny sons — and they are — taking on the contractor, mask-to-mask, no less, is too funny! Not that they couldn’t, but rather that both my sons are hilarious. It would be quite the showdown.

      I absolutely agree with you about what’s happening to us seniors. Even if we live long enough, it’s unlikely we’d look back on this time and laugh at all. I don’t know how the younger folks will come out of it. But I feel sure that all of us will be affected in ways we can’t grasp yet. To have this disease compounded with the disgraceful flim-flam — well, we can but hope our better selves will prevail. Right now my better self is on sabbatical.

  3. What a lovely property nonetheless — it looks so ordered and peaceful. I didn’t realize you lived that close to a pond — I am whining with envy over here!

    • Thank you! The pond is just a retention pond, so at the moment it is fairly repulsive, but mostly it is indeed peaceful. I have grown very fond of it.

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