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Garden Thoughts

Maggie Mae


I appear to have lost the ability to create/choose my own tags. I also don't have my FJ Reviews Blog listed anymore :( Noting this here because sometimes people with the answers read my blogs. I know, I know, I could have asked in Tech, but I'll probably forget by the time I navigate to that forum. 

So the other evening the winds had turned and the potato plants had died a while ago, so we decided it was time to harvest everything. While I was picking through the bushes looking for beans and peas, I was struck with memories of doing the same thing with my grandmother. Unlike her neat and orderly garden, my garden is a giant mess. Kind of like my life. Not that my life is a giant disaster right now, but it's certainly not the most orderly. I did not follow the traditional method of going to school, taking dance, getting into the "right" societies and volunteering. I didn't meet a boy in high school and go to the dances. No "coming out" party or cotillion. I didn't go away to college to get my Mrs. degree. I moved far away from my family, I argued, I fought, I spent money, I got arrested, I eventually settled for a boring life with a messy house and a cat that just showed up one day and never left. I suppose my point is that I am a person who "lets life happen." I plan some stuff. I plan where we go on vacations, I plan to show up to work, I plan my training schedule and I have, at times, planned my meals. I've also, in the past few years, managed to start being a responsible adult and looked into financial planning and I set up an investment account and a retirement account.

Anyway, so while I was pulling and plucking the fruits of the bushes labor, and a summer of my neglect, I remembered my grandmother and my aunt who always had pretty, preplanned, attractive gardens. Not vines that vined on pieces of old fencing, current fencing, and random objects we found lying about. They had/have flower. I imagined myself writing about this garden and trying to find a metaphor for how my grandmother's life was so different than those of us in the post civil rights post 9-11 post and tying that into the wild leaves of my garden vs her tamed and proper flowers and sugar snap peas. Of course, I'm not the writer in the family, that would be the aforementioned aunt who had a much messier life than my grandmother who hated the idea of being a grandparent, but yet still had a reasonably ordered garden. With trees and flowers and arches and a place to sit, my sad little clump of oversized Alaskan vegetables growing wild on random items that other people considered trash looks like it would be better suited in a movie about a reclusive family and a secret garden that only a plucky orphan can save. 

My grandmother lived through the roaring 50s, always wore red lipstick and red nail polish, had terrible gifts, and was straight out of a movie at times. Also her cooking involved a lot of cream and butter. At some point she sort of forgot what expiration dates were so I have some wonderful memories of running to the toilet.  I miss her lots, because she really held that side of my extended family together. I also wonder if I would have made different choices if she were still alive. Her house was always immaculate (except for the kitchen.) She liked to laugh and gossip with the neighbors. 

I don't really know where I'm going with this blog post. I suppose it is like my pile of dirty vegetables, unplanned, organic, and half-assed. That's OK with me. 

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That's how my mom's gardens always ended up. Stuff still can grow. I am of the 'hippie child' opinion that a solid percentage of what all plants need is good intentions/vibrations. She always got mad because there would be more vegetables than we picky vegetarian kids wanted to eat. Thus, the garden became more of an overgrown zoo to set free the turtles and toads and other wildlife we would find in the swimming pool. But stuff always grew.

My current "pet" is a double bamboo stalk that has traveled around Oregon with me since 2008. I am convinced it mirrors my mental health. I don't have it tied up or anything so it very eagerly finds the sunlight. But periodically it just sags. And then I feel bad and give it water. Then I think I've finally done it in and he'll never come back. But all of a sudden...:pow:the leaves will just go right back up again. And we are both happy.

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