And Mine Ain’t Pretty.
Not my garden or my soul.
And somehow, I find that fitting.
I’m not saying that I am OK with the state of affairs, mind you. Just that it is fitting.
In my mind, summer should be a hazy, lazy bucolic event. Where I herd the kids off to an event or two in the morning and spend the afternoons and evenings puttering around the garden, reading, walking, cooking, entertaining.
Sound good to me. I’d like a do-over please.
Because in reality, summer was a stressful, unpleasant blur. There was hazy, but no lazy. To say I am happy that it’s over would be an understatement. Isn’t that sad? Again, I’m requesting a do-over.
And I find myself asking, “What is wrong with my life?” What needs to change? And for all the pissing and moaning I seem to do, I can’t really answer that question. I think I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. I can extend that even further: I think I am doing what I want to be doing.
Or am I? How can I say that summer was an unpleasant blur if I am truly doing what I want to be doing?
Is this the season of life I am in? A consequence of raising kids that turn into teenagers and suck the life out of us?
No. I seriously don’t thing that is it. I just wanted to say it for the millionth time because it is fun.
If I had to put a name to it, I would settle for this:
**And on that note, I must leave now for yet another volunteer commitment. I say that, because I think it is both sad and funny. But I will return. **
(It is now hours later. Aside from a burst of productivity to keep paying clients off my back, my mind-set is the same.)
Some would call it guilt. But is it really guilt? I don’t think so. Maybe obligation isn’t even the right word. I’ll try to explain.
I want to volunteer at Freedomfarm. I want to design cool marketing pieces for my son’s struggling school. I want my kids to be able to play soccer here, close to home (I really didn’t want to run the whole program, but it seems that was the only way it would happen…), I want to help friends with their Christmas cards…, and the list goes on.
And yet, all those things add up to a full-time job. A non-paying, full-time, often-stressful job. Never mind the paying clients, few though they may be. They are often put on the back-burner to some emergency volunteer thing that needs to get taken care of — adding to the stress. These things have a way of taking over my life, much as my cucumber vines took over my garden this year.
The one thing I do for myself is write these posts. And yet, that is often stressful, too. Because what happens when a paying client sees that I took the time to write, instead of get their logo revisions done?
That’s a problem.
Yes it is.
You would think gardening is also something I “do for myself.” But it, too, is an obligation much like the volunteer stuff I do. Yes, I want to have the garden. I enjoy being in the garden. And I certainly enjoy the bounty from the garden. But knowing it’s out there (looking like crap, I might add), is a huge burden. The work involved in honoring the fruits of the labor are immense.
You don’t just go grab beans for dinner. You spend 30 minutes picking them. Then washing them. Then snapping them. And don’t even get me started on lettuce. Washing and drying garden lettuce? I hate it! Not that lettuce is even relevant: after the first spring planting, no more would germinate. It was a problem I would have the remainder of the summer with many of the seed-grown plants.
Soon, the first frost will be upon me and with it comes an insane amount of scrambling. Digging out tender herbs, harvesting peppers, tomatoes, cukes, and everything else that is vulnerable. After that comes the first hard freeze and another wave of work: apples, kale, squash, pumpkins and more.
“Did you pick the raspberries?” “Have you picked the raspberries?” “Has anyone picked raspberries?”
(that’s Dave talking.)
“NO I HAVEN’T PICKED THE FRICKEN’ RASPBERRIES! TELL ME EXACTLY WHEN I WOULD HAVE TWO HOURS TO GO PICK RASPBERRIES!”
(that is me talking.)
First, I have to pick my lovely tomatoes. Not red one among them, I might add.
I ask you: what do you do with this many sickly, yellow tomatoes? Have you ever seen yellow tomato sauce? Yellow salsa?
I have. I’ve even made it before. And it looks exactly — exactly — like vomit. And I have better things to do with my time than make vomit colored sauce.
Like pick the raspberries.