We're not meticulous, but all summer we've been driven. We've got weeds out back, and the truth is, I don't even know the names the wild flowers--most of them--in the patch I've been trying to raise. We've not been gardeners all our lives, only really worked at growing things for the last few years.
But retirement rolls out time bountifully, so much of it you can't help but invest in really elemental stuff, like birds and tomatoes and the pumpkins our grandson wanted, not to mention a whole acre of prairie we're trying to revive. We're not Better Homes and Garden-ers, but we are disciplined. Sort of.
About water, for instance. Someone once told me just about every living thing likes a drink on a hot, mid-summer day, especially when those days run continuously. So we water religiously. Yesterday, the trees. They're all young and fragile. A good friend--a able gardener--took one look at the red bud we just planted in the back yard and told us to pray for it every day. He wasn't joking. So, once in a while, I run up the hose beneath it, let out a trickle for a couple hours.
Last year, we were gone for close to a week. I'd left it on. The water bill soaked us. We're learning.
Still, on scorchers like some we've had, when I tote the hose around some evenings or early mornings and give every living thing a drink, I feel almost biblical. It's an act of mercy, an act of love. I don't think we don't have enough years left to become really good at gardening. Our tomatoes have spots, and our pumpkin vines, so gung-ho for a while, are showing their age. It's only August. How are they going to make it to Halloween? We have tons to learn.
The wind blew me awake early this morning. It's just about always here, but storms create the kind of heavy surf that haunts the house with foreign creaking. Lightning flashed, not close, but close enough to light the bedroom. Then rain. We've not been in a drought, but I now understand why farmers can't stop talking about the weather because the first thing I thought about at four o'clock this morning was that I didn't have to water. Not relieved about it, just blessed.
Go ahead, Lord, I thought. You do it. He's good at it. He's been feeling biblical forever.
It's two hours later now, and it's still raining. A little pop-up from my weather app flashed along the bottom right corner of the my screen warning me that there's a flash flood watch for Sioux County, Iowa. A hundred yards of soybeans separates our garden from the Floyd River our back, but I'm not worried. We're not in danger--and, I'm guessing, no one really is.
Morning's here. The sky is dark, unnaturally so. The sound of rain is a percussion back-up just outside. It's wet all over, and the cars coming up the gravel road still have their lights on. But the goldfinch are already here, singing their blessedness as if there's nothing amiss, hanging like gymnasts from the soaked bag of thistle seed.
All's fine here. No watering today, and we'll stay out of the mud, which only means more weeds. This morning, this couple of retirees will just have to walk to get our exercise.
Looks to me like it's been a bountiful rain. Today watering is a done deal, a blessing from the Master Gardener.
|That needy red bud|