Lot 2

I have not done much work in my garden. I suppose my garden is really not a garden, but more a yard, since it is an expanse of dirt. (I know what soil is and this is dirt.) Really it is more of a lot, since it has been allotted to my family group. But when I work on it, I treat it like a garden; and there is the difference.

How so, since I leave it dirt, since it has nothing to show but inherited hostas around the foundation? I think of it as a garden because weeds and weedlike things come up, and I treat them like weeds. Or I call them strays and invite them in to be looked at.

I come out there with my dog to throw her toys around. I get bored with that soon, and I hunt around for what doesn’t belong. Early on, my wife and I have sprayed down the poison ivy, even though neither of us seems to get rashes from it. I’m surprised this treatment seems to be holding so far. We also bothered to get a reel mower and apply it to what (I must point out) is not a lawn. When we mowed the rest of what had come up, and thoroughly raked what that left behind, the picture got clearer. Picture is really the wrong word, because if it was a picture it would be nothing but dirt. The key thing seems to be to see the surface from every angle, and variously according to different measures – a square inch, a square foot, square lot, so on. You look at each measure with some purpose in mind, and the measure stretches to fit the purpose. Doing all of this stretches the definition of picture past the breaking point, I think. When you are looking for little incursions, when you are weeding, or looking for things left behind, this is how you look. You can’t look in scenes, in broad strokes. Accordingly, you don’t make a picture, you think in, I guess, sketches.

Here’s what I find left behind. I find bits of latex paint. I find the labels from apples. I find a verbena label that has outlived its verbena. I find pieces of foam, and characterless paper, and I find many, too many blue washers with little screws through them. It is inconceivable that I have not found them all already, but here they come.

I find threads, and threads, blue ones and red ones, growing out of the dirt. My garden has Morgellons.

My powers of pattern recognition get taxed; red threads, milk bottle rinds appear and disappear in the dirt. They are hiding between pignosed nuts, and oak-leaf sprays, and bits that could want to be lawn but I won’t quite let them. Tiny blush-colored acorns that I imagine an enterprising chef putting in salad. Also file under pink: a Polygonum which is either pensylvanicum (one n?) or persicaria. Should I worry if it is persicaria? Is it good for the animals? Box elders, and I’m sure the poison ivy again sometime soon. Regular ivy come to visit from next door.

I’m rambling. But I always ramble within sight of the house. 

(June 2016–March 2016)