The way we age, the passage of time, how we change, is something of an obsession for me.
I'm a big fan of going over instances in the past, searching them for meaning, figuring out what I've learned and how to go forward.
I also sometimes look at where I am and the wonder is in trying to figure out how I got here and what it is I'm doing here.
Like, say, why I've got my knees into bug-infested crabgrass, my hands wrist-deep in dead-root clogged soil trying to make perfectly round little four-inch holes for a six pack of infant Spanish Heathers.
It's one of those moments where you look back at the things you led you here and you begin to believe that somewhere along the great Amtrack path of your life, something seriously derailed.
(I just realized there was an actual train derailing in the news today. Um, sorry derailed people. It's, um... just a metaphor there... Carry on. Er. By plane or something.)
The yard thing has become a bit of an obsession, like suddenly finding you have a favorite hobby or having sex with someone new for the first time. You're like, "Wow! So that's what this is like!" There's a tremendous sense of discovery, as if you are the first person who ever thought to put stuff in dirt and watch it grow when you add sunlight and Miracle-Gro-enhanced water. When in fact, this is so far from the truth as to create laughter among those who know you for the Johnny-come-lately that you are. It's even worse if your name is actually Johnny.
What I'm really liking is the gardening, though. It started slowly. A few months ago, I started planting some tomato seeds in a window box inside my house. I soaked some moonflower seeds overnight in warm water and planted them, watching them grow over the next few weeks. When I transplanted the three potted moonflowers outside, two of them survived and are thriving.
I planted a mini rose bush, and that's suddenly started blooming.
The tomatoes? Um... my cat mistook the oversized pot for an exciting new brand of dark kitty litter. She killed them off with her deadly urine.
On Tuesday, I made a trek to Home Depot, where angry-looking people pushed oversized carts of about five dozen little pots of flowers and huge bags of soil each. They look so pissed, like they're going off to war and gathering supplies to kill the Nazis. If you get in their way, they shoot you angry glances. Isn't this supposed to be some kind of hippie love Earth mother thing? Where's the love, Home Depot fuckers? Oh, and get out of my damned way! I've got compost and garden soil to buy!
We got a huge assortment of things -- some perennials, the aforementioned Mexican Heather, a few bright annuals, some bell pepper plants, some other stuff.
When I got home, I dug in immediately, digging up stubborn dead roots in an existing garden area and planting the Heathers one by one, then watering them in their fresh new soil.
This was the easy part. The night before, I tackled the worst of it: I have a huge fenced garden area that became overrun with weeds. I tried putting weed 'n feed pellets in there, but they did no good. So I went to Phase II: Manual Labor.
I opened my bedroom window and turned the speakers so they faced outside. Listening to some Rage Against the Machine, I went to war on those damned weeds. Using a hoe and my new garden gloves, I went to work on them, pulling and grabbing and tossing over the fence endlessly. I went row by row. The previous owners had made little vegetable rows, but there was no sign of anything growing there now but the damnable pests. For two hours, I went at it, sweating and cursing and pulling and throwing.
By the end of it, there was a massive, four-foot pile of weeds just sitting there, staring at me angrily. They were upset that I was messing with the natural order of things, taking them by the roots. They sprayed me with allergens, making my skin and eyes itchy. They tried to prick me. When that didn't work, the just threw soil all over me.
In the end, I think I won. I balled up the weeds and tossed them into three huge trash bags. My yard, bitches. Get the hell out.
Now comes the crossroads. Am I going to keep doing this every night, squatting in the dirt, watering plants, standing in line at the 'Depot all the time looking pissy like the rest of the customers?
Or will I give up when the temperature hits 100 degrees and just let everything wilt and die?
I'll let you know in a few weeks if I become Farmer Ted or TV-Watchin' Tony.
Pimpery pays: A few things from this week. I did a review of The Scorpion King that you should check out.
"Hey, get up! I may be the Pope, but I don't swing that way, buckos."