by Daria Halprin
I feel ashamed to say this year I hate the garden
The cucumbers feel too thick and prickly in my hands
The tomatoes have grown into a complete chaos that isn’t very interesting
The herbs, I don’t want to feel responsible to flavor anything
There are these sudden empty spaces that make no sense at all, while some things are way too crowded together.
It is a rag tag place a place that was made to happen not wished for
The mother and son did it ‘cause they thought they should but didn’t work that well together, she keeping quiet so as not to insult him though she wanted to guide, and he rushing through it on his way to someplace else.
Now I have to find a way to make something out of the effort, to stake the unruly and irritating vines, make a sauce for a meal I have no desire to cook, give things away as if I care.
Last summer there was so much feeling in it, a patience still remained, a curiosity for what might grow and how and what could be smelled or tasted or made, an excitement in the visiting, the watching, waiting, plucking, carrying a basket full with a certain pride up the back stairs to the kitchen waiting to receive the pilgrim. There was an adventure and a romance about it.
Now I have no interest whatsoever. I’d rather tend the soil of my own mind, plant things there without concern for what might come of it, smell in secret, keep it well weeded, let the berry bushes take over an entire corner, and let these poems be the harvest, let these words be my nourishment, no orders to follow here, no critique or wanting.
I am in a private garden, with a private love, with a private gravesite, mine.
A place where all my past can be buried as a planting, and may sprout good things,
Where I can be as angry and disappointed and complaining as I want without insulting or defending.
I’m not saying that I don’t miss the other, and would want that summer back. I’m not saying that if only I’d spoken up, instead of holding back, perhaps the garden would be in better shape or more inviting now. But here it is exactly as it is and that’s that.
Perhaps this summer’s garden is as gentle and true a teacher as she was before, and that this is a harder lesson to accept. I still can’t bring myself to make it work. Leave it alone, and it will make what it will or not. It’s no one’s fault , no one to accuse, nothing I must save or change, no convincing here and nothing I need do.
Let the garden fail a bit, admit you have no calling to it. Maybe it’s a suit and heels and a trip abroad that you want next. Leave your basket at the door on the way out.