I gardened today. Outside with the sun overhead. Dirt on my clothes. Sweat despite the near freezing temperature. It was a first.
It wasn’t the first time I’ve gardened. I did all the gardening and yard work in the two houses I owned with my soon-to-be ex-husband. It wasn’t the first time I container gardened this year either. I’ve been doing that since I moved out of my house last November.
It was the first time I’ve gardened in the ground this year though and the very first time I’ve done yard work at my Dad’s since I left home too many years ago to count. It was also the first time I did more yard work than my Dad who will be turning 70 in a couple weeks.
When I was a young girl, I would often hear the doorbell ring in the Spring/Summer/Fall months when grass and gardens go crazy around here. The person at the door was always Dad. The doorbell was his way of calling his daughters outside to help with something.
I remember trying to ignore the doorbell and then finally, begrudgingly, getting on my shoes and jacket and heading outside to find out what task I was to be set to. I hated yard work. It was messy and there were bugs, slugs, worms, and my arch nemesis …the spider(s). I half heartedly helped and would jump at the chance to go inside and refill Dad’s coffee. I would take my time to warm up or get a snack before returning. Pretty sure Dad was on to me though.
I would pull weeds, see spiders, and get really stressed. It was too cold or too hot or a bee or spider was after me. Often, the Smurfs or Gummy Bears were on T.V. and I was annoyed that I was missing them. I decided then that I’d have a rock garden when I was all grown up.
The young me had no idea that the adult me would sorely miss that property with all its trees, shrubbery, and flowers. And yes, even the Sp…nope. Still no, but I can deal with spiders now. A little. So far, I’ve had two gardens of my own to play in as an adult.
The first house had a real fixer-upper of a back yard. It was magical though and went from scary to charming under my gardening gloves. I was sad to leave it, but the sense of accomplishment I have from transforming it into a little sanctuary will never leave me. I was happy there.
The second house had a huge lawn that I push mowed for an eternity. It had room for plenty of shrubs and flowers that I planted and that made up for the required lawn maintenance. Though it wasn’t a magical garden like the first house had, it still provided me with a calm that seems to only come from breathing in fresh air with the sky overhead. I miss it.
Today I let Dad refill his own coffee and take breaks. It wasn’t the yard I grew up with, but there was something comforting about being outside and working in the yard for Dad again. I’ve always been able to be with Dad and talk but be perfectly comfortable without talking too. Mostly Dad let me work though he still did a little. It was definitely a switch. I bet there was something on T.V. that he wanted to watch, but in my family, when one is working, they all seem to be. Or at least keeping good company. I suppose one never feels alone that way.
So today, I was happy to help. No doorbell needed. I guess you can take the girl out of the garden, but not the garden out of the girl.