A Gardening Story
(originally posted 9/12/2012)
In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of gardening. In particular, one aspect of it.
Strong and well-shaped men locked in mortal combat with nature herself. The seeds of her handiwork carried on the chilly fall winds finally rising to start the dance anew. The powerful play goes on and I get to contribute a verse.
So my Japanese 3 prong cultivator rake in hand I walk out my door and join the fray.
Ok ok ok. I had to weed and I’m trying to make it interesting until it gets interesting… so shoot me. It was hot and after about two friggin minutes I was sweaty and every known small buzzing insect had decided to come over and see how far up my nose they could get before I started to rake myself with my Japanese 3 prong cultivator rake. I realize that going from an attempt to incorporate great literary quotes in describing my weeding to using rake as both a verb and a noun in the same sentence may be a dizzying fall but otherwise I’d have had to go back and change the Japanese 3 prong cultivator rake to a drop grip 2 tine hand cultivator and that would have taken far more energy than it was worth.
Just to bring you up to speed all of my perennials were off and running so I wasn’t actually going to be planting anything this year. All I needed to do was weed and then sit back and enjoy the fruits of my prior labors. Of course, as soon as the ice had thawed the forces of weedom had sprung fully into action. Before I could even sat down I saw Wild Chicory, Broadleaf Plantain and Mouse-eared Chickweed making a claim to prime flower real estate.
I was having none of it.
I cranked up the volume on my Ipod and dove in like a champ. Soon the beaten and bedraggled bodies of Yellow Woodsorrel and Low Hop Clover began to pile up. For the first time I saw some Purple Loosestrife making a play in my garden and let me tell you… I was not impressed. What a little bitch of a weed! Talk about shallow roots. You pull one out and the two next to it fall over on their own. Not at all like my arch nemesis taraxacum officinale.
Hats off to whatever secret government lab created this bad boy. Roots that go on forever. I swear, you pull a big Dandelion hard enough and you can knock a few ceramic figures off an old ladies table in Germany. Don’t let those happy yellow flowers fool you, Dandelions are all business. They even started a rumor that you could eat them, make a salad out of their leaves or some horseshit like that, to try legitimize themselves. Not going to fly around my house. They know it and I know they know it. That’s why every year it’s a tradition… the weeding throwdown. A gardening grudgematch. Me vs. them.
At one point my Japanese 3 prong cultivator rake was probably warm to the touch. I was a machine. The only weed I fear more than the Dandelion? That’s easy; Solidago Verge d’or.
But I had little to fear that day as I was almost done weeding and seemed to have everything under control. Oh, life is like that. Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.
That’s when I came upon it.
The mother of all Goldenrod. It had sprouted behind a shrub literally on the path to my front door unnoticed until I was almost done weeding. Rashly I tugged it with all my might and heard the sickly snap as it came off in my hand. The roots, the lifeblood of this villain still firmly entrenched in my soil, certain to once again come thrusting itself up to annoy and agitate again.
Not on my watch.
Perhaps at this point I should stop and point out a couple things.
- I live off the beaten path and rarely have visitors.
- Because of 1. I usually spend the entire time weeding singing along in full throat to whatever I’m listening to on my Ipod.
Ok, these two points may seem unconnected to the simple and mundane task of weeding but allow me to continue and enlighten you as to how all of these things conspired against me and why after I’m done relating these events to you I will begin work on my apology letter to Girl Scout Troup #141 and three cadettes in particular .
My back was to the path leading to my front door. I was engaged for a full five minutes in alternately digging around the enormous root and then pulling and tugging with all my strength to uproot it. In my head it was a heroic battle and as I fought it I was belting out a song with all the… heroicasy (?) I could muster.
I felt it give way and with one long final tug it slid free from the earth! Forgive me if I quickly return to mixing in a quick literary reference by saying that I let out what could only be described as a barbaric yawp. I then turned around to see three young ladies standing there, each wearing a familiar green sash over their shoulders.
I was still singing.
The song quickly died on my lips… but not until a particularly inappropriate verse of “I Touch Myself” by the Divinyls had been delivered.
Three mouths dropped open and six eyes slowly made their way to my hand. A hand that was clutching a thick eight inch Goldenrod.
For what seemed forever I stood frozen until finally the obligatory screeching and dropping of cookies and order forms and retreating from whence they’d came commenced.
Now let he without sin cast the first stone. Obviously pulling on a Goldenrod for five minutes to “I Touch Myself” is fraught with Freudian perils to begin with but what are the odds that three godforsaken Girlscouts are going to come wandering up in the middle of it?!
I guess offering to do some gardening for them to make amends would probably be a bad idea. With my luck their headquarters would be overrun with Yellow Rocket.
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