Knowing I’d be away from home for a week, I embarked on a self-imposed rush to get starts transplanted and seeds planted before my departure. My seeding list was varied: Royal Burgundy snap beans, King of the Early dry beans, Tiger Eye dry beans, more swiss chard, sunflowers, plus a host of other flower varieties, including more cleome, zinnias, nasturtiums, and calendula. Some were carefully planned and mapped accordingly, while others were scattered in corners and nooks of our homestead with the hope of our awakening to floral beauty one unsuspecting day. To be transplanted were more brassicas (kale, broccoli, cabbage, brussel sprouts), plus herbs such as chamomile, oregano, and lavender. While moving about the garden, I harvested another round of chives and mullein to be dried, taking advantage of the hot, dry conditions.
The forecast for my time away looked to be fairly consistent: rain, in various quantities, accompanied by moderate temperatures. The gardens have certainly been suffering from a precipitation deficit thus far… and the moderate temperatures were easy to plan for. On the morning of my travels I left the cold frames open and window boxes of lettuce outside.
This departure was, in many ways, motivation to put everything to right. With all tasks on my garden list checked off, I was ready to leave. For me, the plant work is a large part of the physical preparation for being gone. That is not to minimize, however, the cleaning up of other odds and ends: raking dead grass for mulch before the new grass grows up, gathering wood shavings for the privy (the byproduct of chainsaw work), moving brush piles that had accumulated from winter forestry, and gathering kindling.
Completing these tasks left me ready to be briefly away. However, another aspect of being gone is mental – perhaps emotional is the better word – as I accustom myself to a different rhythm. At our homestead, Ryan and I are quite present as one day unfolds into the next, marking time with the growth of the trees, and the weeds, the unfurling of spring blossoms, and the growth of plants around us. Upon leaving, the intimacy with the landscape – with Home – is broken. The physical details of place that comprise our day-to-day must be cradled in my mental memory for the time apart.
In its absence, the importance of landscape is reaffirmed. With ourselves rooted in the dirt alongside the vigorous weeds, the tender plants, and the grand trees whose crowns wave overhead in the wind, we are at home.
And even when away, we belong somewhere: here.
For ecological garden design and maintenance, orchard care, or weeds pulled from your garden or landscaped housefront, please contact Beth via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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