A Garden Expression

Yesterday morning EJ fixed the mower and then he mowed the lawn. It was a relatively simple problem, and he offered to show me how he fixed it, but I refused. I told him that I was so frustrated by my constant battle with the mowers this summer that I didn’t even want to look at a mower right now. The mower struggles became a metaphor for things in my life that I can’t live with but I can’t fix.

Later in the afternoon, a neighbor saw us in the garden and came over to chat. Unaware of our mower problems, she said that she has struggled with her mower this summer–in fact, she has broken two mowers. She can borrow her parent’s mower to mow the front yard, but they don’t want her to mow the back yard where the dogs’ droppings are, so her back yard has long grass. (I hadn’t noticed.) I commiserated with her problems, telling her that we were struggling with broken mowers too. I secretly thought, “Ha! The mowers’ rebellion is spreading!” I have decided that all mowers are rebels and I will now refer to them as “rebel scum.” (Sorry, Simone, but I will no longer sweet-talk these evil machines who are making lives’ miserable.)

We had storms during the night. It felt as if all night there was the constant rumble of thunder. The thunder woke me enough that I knew what it was and it disturbed my sleep, but not enough to wake me fully or to motivate me to check radar. Today has been so humid that I feel as if I could make a twisting motion with my hands and squeeze water out of the air.

Dr. Dolittle
Dr. Dolittle

I (we) got a lot of little tasks done this morning. I stopped at the bank, bought milk at the little gas station store, and picked up the mail at the post office. EJ and I returned a friend’s truck that we had borrowed. I also rescued a baby bird from Annie’s jaws. I happened to glance out the window and saw her running with it so I rushed out and saved it. It was unharmed. It calmly let me pick it up in my hands and carry it to the tray feeder where it would be safe from falling and from cats until it recovered from its ordeal. A little later I check and it was gone. I thought how magical it was that a little wild bird would rest trustingly in my hands.  When I was a child, I always ranted to be like Doctor Dolittle and talk to the animals. Experiences like this make me feel I am almost there.

This morning I was pondering how wonderful it feels to have the lawn all neatly mowed. Then I laughed because while the lawn is neat, my garden is a riot of wildness. And that made me think of my neighbors’ gardens, which are all neatly mulched. That reminded me of how much I appreciate that people and gardens are so different. I delight in differences because I think that it is peoples’ differences, gifts, and strengths, and even their idiosyncrasies, weaknesses and wounds that make them beautifully unique. How boring it would be if we were all the same. The same is true of their gardens. I admire my neighbor’s gardens.

I think gardeners are like artists and their gardens are their canvases. Each gardener “paints” a beautiful picture with their garden that is an expression of who they are. There is no right and wrong about their gardens. There is only unique differences and beauty.

Neat Lawn, Wild Garden
Neat Lawn, Wild Garden

I like my lawn (the little bit that there is) to be neatly mowed. When it’s not, I feel a sense of clutter and disorder and chaos in my spirit which drags me down. I hate going out in the yard when the mower is broke and the grass is high. A neatly mowed lawn makes me feel calm and joyful. However, my garden is not orderly or neat. It is not mulched with flowers in nice little groupings. My garden has a neat path running through it, but the plants are a riot of wildness, with plants spreading and appearing in surprising places. Sometimes new plants appear; I don’t know where they came from–probably the wind blows seeds or the birds drop them. My garden has snakes and frogs and birds and butterflies crawling and hopping and fluttering around. Even spiders and insects have their place in the garden (as long as they are not on ME.) I am delighted by the things in my garden–both planned and surprising, both wildlife and plant. I love the neatness of my lawn and the little bit of wildness in my garden.

My garden is an expression of who I am. I have always been able to fulfill obligations in my life–like to go school or work, do dishes and wash clothes–but I have always needed to also have a little bit of wildness in my life, a little bit of time that was not organized or obligated  in which I could do whatever I wanted. If all my life was without order, I would feel chaotic and stressed. If all of my life was regimented, I would feel stifled and restricted. I need a little bit of both. That is what I express with my lawn and garden.


7 Comments on “A Garden Expression

  1. I have to laugh, “rebel scum”. All things mechanical fall under that title for me. I love gardens, mine and others as well, be they wild or neat and tidy, tiny or gigantic. I do not particularly like mine weedy though…..


  2. Well that was the kind of garden we always had ( I’m not surprised anymore of the resemblance ) and even my big balcony is not as polished as everyone else’s. Because I have a lot of plants who need water and I love that it is not a sterile surrounding but more like my balcony garden. You’ll be surpassed how many people just have a polished floor and al kinds of stone elements and maybe 1 or 2 plants who never ever drop some water or leaves. They are dead balcony’s so I love yours . And let’s be silent about the mowers I’m afraid that your relationship will be over for ever I’m really sooooooo sorry I did my best but they are really angry I’m afraid so when you see a bunch of mowers coming up your street and stop at your doorstep try to be nice to them and not irritate them more because otherwise they will mow everything in the garden they said…….. 🙂 ❤


    • Your balcony garden sounds lovely, Simone. And, yes, we better not discuss the mowers. 😀


  3. Nothing more satisfying than a neat yard. Now just to get on the house. I found the area where my husband usually watches tv to be nearly growing this morning. We have hardwood floors and you see every spec. It was time for a quick clean. Love your post, I avoid mowers. I said that was why I married and had children.


    • I am glad you like my post, Lucindalines! I like your comments 🙂

      JJ always mowed the lawn, but I have over this summer, for obvious reasons. I actually don’t mind doing it because I love a newly mown lawn. I just hate the rebel scum lawn mowers that are giving me such problems this summer!


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