This is the first line of a poem by William Butler Yeats that I have liked for many years. It’s written to a woman he loved when very young, but I have brought it to mind when I’ve been out of touch and am re-engaging with myself or a friend. It’s been quite a while since I’m written a blog, so I’m pleased to here typing these words. It’s high summer so I’m in my yard a lot, weeding or watering because we’re in deep drought. That means all my flowers/bushes/trees call out as I walk past them, so I move the hoses to help. Weeds thrive in dry weather so I can’t stay ahead of them with a garden as extensive as mine.
My water bills are exorbitant, but my garden is full of living, blooming life. My front yard has not a single blade of grass and the back has a patch of green grass-like things, e.g., creeping Charlie, clover, little wild violets. I have that patch because people tell me if there is NO grass or a fence, some prospective buyers don’t look seriously at your house if they have a child/children and/or a dog/dogs. The front is mostly perennials (day lillies, hostess, bee balm, salvia, butterfly bush, hyssop, bergamot) and a few bright annuals (begonias, impatiens, petunias, pansies).
The back garden used to be another mix of annuals and perennials, but I’m listening to naturalists who say everything we plant in our gardens should support some other life form, so I’m letting the back go native. Scads of milkweed that I used to cut back or even yank out of the ground; plain old white daisies that I dug up but they kept returning; wild columbine that I never used to keep because it was just a dull bronze that faded fast. I’ve keep the long row of indigo bushes because I see lots of bees and worms near them.
When I am in my yard, I can lose track of time–Audre Lorde once said her definition of the erotic was anything we engage in where we lose track of time. She went on to say if we are lucky, some of those times may involve sex, but most will not. My reliable”erotic” activities, then, are gardening and painting walls. When the former president was doing one horrible thing after the other, I retreated to my gardens as often and time and weather allowed so I could forget him for an hour or so.
These days of increasing climate crisis, sometimes even my garden can’t let me escape the reality because there simply is not much ground water under the surface. So when I water with hoses or the universes waters with rain, you can’t tell in a few hours because the water going into the ground is not echoed by ground water that receives it and increases. But I persist because the alternative is unacceptable.