I read an article online the other day,
ranting and raving about an individual,
who coined the phrase “Yardening”,
as though he uttered a dirty word,
repulsive to the true gardeners of the universe.
Who exactly are these Gardening purists?
Who gets to say what is Gardening and what is Yardening?
I, for one, being a Not Yet A Yeti, am an avid Yardener.
I Yarden and I am proud of it.
It is Spring after all and that is what all decent Yard Yetis do...
Spring is the time to trim back bushes, blow out the leaves from the beds, give the garden furniture a new coat of paint. Spring is when we, the Yardeners, find many chores to distract us from the fact that May is still half a month away and little plants just might freeze yet, or wither from the cold late season rains.
So we stalk the local nurseries for the cool plants, the pansies and the columbine, the begonias and the lilacs.
We smooth our fingers down their stems,
and begin the architectural plans.
But while there is time to imagine under the slivers of the moon overhead,
we know better than to plant too soon.
So instead, we ....
Every good gardener worthy of their eternal roots in Nature,
know that there is work to do.
And so we nest.
Nest in the soil that needs tilling and rake up the dead leftover leaves into a mulch pit. We sweep and walk the borders. There is much to do in Spring, and it is called Yardening.
The preparation of the Yard.
And if we are true, if we are generous to the whims of the season, we also pause at the edges of the garden long enough to see the tenderest of mercies.
I cannot open my front door without the twitter of tiny birdies flapping their wings, and chastising me for encroaching on their sacred ground.
As we speak, I have two nests in my front alcove. One is gently implanted in a wreath, near my front door. Each and every morning, I look out the window and wave hello to the tiny wren babysitting on her delicate perch above four precious blue eggs.
If I scare her, she flies into the magnolia tree and chatters at me from a distance. I step outside and whisper to her, I am no harm to your babies.
I will do no harm.
Then, I turn to the corner eave, and see the second nest, a whimsical yet sturdy structure, placed over the top of the drainage pipe. This is a robin’s nest, and the mother is equally excitable, if I should approach.
But I tell her too, I am a Yardener.
I am busy with the business of pre-gardening and will do no harm.
My shirt is sweaty and my gloves are tinged with the dirt of the yard. I am so anxious you see. Anxious like you for the miracle of new beginnings. I am making a nest too. I am making a nest for all the new plants and blooms that will call my garden Home.
Yardeners are Doulas, Midwives, the side by side practitioners of the art of delivery. The chanters, the rhythmic breathers, the hold-my-hand-it-hurts soothing presence, as the birthing process begins. We,the Gardeners, have all studied the fine art of Yardening. We know that not every egg may hatch, not every bud will bloom, but if you allow our magic to fill your soul, the chances of success increase tenfold.
Yardeners stand in the corner of the room, days after the due date, and remain patient that the birth of any garden is out of our control. Winds blow, storm clouds gather, the moon shifts the tides as they ebb and flow, without our consent.
Gardeners and Yardeners, alike, know the secrets of the garden. We walk through the night, focused on the lights in the trees, the hoot of the owls, the skittering of the lizards, and the unknown and unnamed creatures we will never see, who promise to keep the critters at bay, should we walk barefoot in the dewey grass, eyes on the heavens, searching for signs.
Please, please we ask, is it time yet? Is it safe yet?
Dare we plant, dare we sow?
But the birdies, the tiny birdies in my front yard, they know.
They built their nests close to my home,
because they know I am a Yardener.
They know that I too, am afraid of the deadlines of Spring,
that it all may be a ruse, a false echo of things yet to come.
My nesters, my little avian friends believe in me, as I, believe in them. This is a home, a refuge, I tell them. They watch me day after day and their trust is deep.
I feel the same for them.
Trust in me, I whisper.
Do no harm ye able Gardeners.
Do no harm ye able Yardeners.
Provide safe harbor for the infants of Spring.
Guard the nests.
Stand tall and firm until the moment of delivery, the first sweet crack of the shell, and the peep peep peep of the breath of life.
Protect the nest. Celebrate the birth.
Between planting and sowing, this is a time for candles.
For a celebration for the new life,
about to greet us in the light of day.
Be good, my friends.
Be good to the unborn and to the about to be born.
Be vigilant and be sure to breathe.
Yardening is an honorable profession.
Honor those about to be.
Celebrate those who fight to be here.
Sing, sing into the night for safe journey into this world.
We, the Gardeners, the Yardeners, would do the same for you.
The Next To the Last Chapter
Of the Yard Yetis A Gardener's Tale
Thursday, April 9, 2015
Happy Birthday to you...
Happy Birthday to all my trees...
Happy Spring Birthday to you...
I have a thing about trees. I like to watch them transform and change throughout the seasons. I like to listen to the birch trees whisper in the dark.
Trees are mathematically pleasing.
A combined randomness and a steadying symmetry that soothes me.
Keep me centered in time and space.
Some trees are planted on purpose. For maximum growing potential in complimentary weather zones. For fruit or shade or beauty. Others are seeded in the ground, by the whimsy of the wind. They grow in shade or sun, alone or encircled by members of their own family, or adopted by a field of strangers. A pine nestled between a cluster of oaks. A birch leaning upward beside a towering elm.
The young trees bend and sway, move and snap back into shape unfazed by the whims of the weather, while elder alders lose branches, creak and moan when abused.
But in the Spring, no matter the age, their leaves bud into limey green. Slowly, tenderly uncurl under the warmth of the sun and the spring rains.
I love Spring best. It’s a front row seat in a packed house for a tree fancier like me. To see their skeletal outlines in the night, as they emerge into morning light and the colours return. The infinitesimal change, right at the end of their fingertips, like a magical manicure. Tiny green shoots. Trees take on a new shape, one I can imagine. I can take out my colored pencils and sketch in their forms.
Like a sonogram, at first just a shape, a rhyming rhythm, a familiar beat until the details emerge from behind the shadows. Fingernails, spine, toes. Eyelashes and belly buttons. The characteristics of life.
A new beginning.
I am busy, here, writing cards. Birthday cards to my trees.
Birthday cards to you, wherever new life is incubating.
On this your big day, your let’s blow out the candle day, I wish you little joys.
The tiny details we overlook in the rush of life.
May your day be filled with a multitude of moments to fill your calendar until next year.
You know the candle you never can seem to blow out on the cake?
When you are ready, the rest of your life is awaiting your presence...
With applause for a job well done.