Thursday, November 13, 2014

In which I explain the radio silence, after the fact

I guess I should say something about where I've been for the past few months. It's no big mystery, really. Shortly after my last post in January, I was offered an interim administrative job in my college. It took up a lot of my time.

That's basically the story. Oh, except for the fact that I really enjoyed it, it was important and meaningful, and somehow, even though I didn't have time to post about gardening, I still managed to get a little in. I'll do a few posts soon to get you caught up. I'll tell you, for example, about my discovery of roses...

I didn't get much cycling in, though. Actually, I got absolutely no cycling in, and had to cancel my planned fund-raiser for the South Plain Food Bank. I regret that, but sometimes very good, very worthy things bump up head to head with each other, and something has to give. I made a hard choice and I believe it was the right one, though I didn't "feel good" after making it.

If we are paying attention in life, this is what we learn, isn't it? That the right decision can make us feel bad. We are programmed to believe that the opposite will occur, but that isn't how it always works. If we learn to embrace this knowledge, though, it can give us the courage to do the right thing. Courage is not usually about running into burning buildings. Courage is more often about making hard choices.

I haven't abandoned the food bank. Someday I'll do another fund raiser. In the meantime, I know that the work I've done this past year has been vital to my college. And that is a good thing.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It isn't an adventure without the panic

This is me, scrambling to get some of my container plants into my orangerie ahead of the Polar Vortex.

It's really just a temporary greenhouse that I use for a shade structure, but I like the word "orangerie." It conjures up graceful villas in Provence or Tuscany--which, as you can see here, our humble estate clearly resembles, nutsedge and all.

I took the afternoon off from school because I worked on Saturday, and Sunday was spent draining the fountain and removing the drip timers from faucets so they wouldn't freeze, as well as a few hundred other household chores unrelated to the forecast. So today I took two or three hours to move the plants and pull the greenhouse cover over the frame and secure it. But now everything is snug, and watched over by the Guard Rabbit.

I did this yesterday afternoon, and last night I drifted in and out of sleep listening to the wind howling in advance of the cold front. It filled me, improbably, with a sense of satisfaction and calm--not because my plants and equipment were safe, but because the storm is bigger than me. It is the same feeling I get when I stare at the ocean. I find it a relief to be around something grander than all of my cares.

It is like this every year, isn't it? We stretch out the garden season for as long as we can, and then one day it is time and there is a mad scramble to get it all done before the freeze hits. In years past I was stressed out by it, but this year, it felt right somehow--the rushing around, the urgency. The cheerful panic. It is one way we know that we are alive. We need stress of the fun kind once in a while--it's why we like roller coasters, and skiing, and going downhill on our bicycles. Gardening, like life and roller coaster rides, just wouldn't be as much fun without a few screams.