Saturday, May 06, 2006

Small Daily Steps

My gardening has been mundane lately...some weeding, going back and cleaning out the Artemesia roots, pulling grass runners away from the edge of beds, dead-heading, a little minor transplanting.... The list is uninspiring, but the tasks are essential to keeping the garden functioning as a garden rather than degenerating into an overgrown morass of undifferentiated green. It's taken me years to learn that these tasks can't be skimped...ESPECIALLY if I want to keep gardening organically.

A year of seed; seven years of weed.

And, actually, now that I've learned to accept that I really do need to keep up with these tasks, I find the work rather relaxing. Each morning that I'm going to garden, I take my cup of coffee and meander the yard, looking to see what needs to be done. By the time I finish the caffeine jolt, I'm raring to get started.

Wendell Berry's poem, "The Farm" (from 1991, as published in A Timbered Choir, p.146-147), speaks to me again, this time about the importance of these ongoing small adjustments to the identity of the place I'm "farming":

And so you make the farm,
And so you disappear
Into your days, your days
Into the ground. Before
You start each day, the place
Is as it is, and at
The day's end, it is as
It is, a little changed
By work, but still itself,
Having included you
And everything you've done.
And it is who you are,
And you are what it is.
You will work many days
No one will ever see;
Their record is the place.

1 comment:

prairiewolf said...

Small tasks, a little surgery, and a dose of antibiotic from time to time and you'll get there.