Last week I was all set to clamber upon the roof and make my announcement, ‘Summer! It’s here! Guys, it’s finally here!’.
And like I needed to announce it. The horrifying bushfires that came out of nowhere, the exhaustion and sweat just from sitting in the car, the everybody hanging out on the side of the freeway, bonnets up, mobiles to ears: it all spells summer, right?
Ha. Right now it could be July, only I am sitting in my lounge room, accompanied by rain and thunder, with a gin and tonic- not a red wine- because? It’s summer!
And we are spending the weekend at the beach (hmmmm….) because? It’s summer!
South Australia is set to have it’s wettest summer in somewhere like thirty years. And that could be seen as a bit of a downer. But I’m not mad. Because? The garden. In the lull between downpours this afternoon, under a speckle of mist, I rode piggyback on Will’s back around the garden (like an expectant and excited child I can go no longer than one day without checking on the garden, it’s happiness and it’s progress always interesting; I also forgot my shoes… hence the piggyback that also paints me as an excited child) and oh em gee guys! It was like when you were six and you woke up on christmas morning to find an oddly shaped but satisfyingly full bag of goodies on the end of your bed. (OK, it maybe wasn’t quite that exciting, but it was up there.)
Things got huge! After just one day of steady rain in the midst of all this hot hot heat the pumpkins are huge, the watermelon has flowered, the corn stalks are deep green and tall… It’s all happening. And I am excited. Soon it will be pumpkins and corn for all!
And so I have to say a little thanks to the garden. Thanks because it gives me a moment of peace early in the morning before I go to work inside all day, standing out under the young sun, watering and sheltering plants for the hot to come. Because it gives me a sense of purpose in the digging and weeding and planting that is cyclic and reassuring. And thanks because it gives me pleasure in the unexpected, like mid-summer wintry days that might once have made me whinge and moan.
I’m sure the garden is worth more than the sum of its parts. I’m convinced of the power of working outside, using your body to heal your mind and encourage happiness without consciously trying. And making food or flowers appear from dirt and seeds? It may just be one of the most satisfying things. After all the volunteering we did last year, I’m sure it was when we were playing in the dirt, tilling, planting, harvesting, that we were both happiest.
So make yourselves a little garden. Plant stuff. Flowers, herbs, vegies. It’s worth the time and the back strain and the disappointment when the bugs get there first sometimes. Even if only because every few days, it is like the christmas morning of your sixth year, huge sack of goodies on the end of your bed, wide-eyed grin in the early dark.
P.S. And this little salad? The VERY FIRST THING we’ve eaten that’s been 95 percent from the garden (or, every ingredient but 3… I actually don’t know percentages so well). Big news guys, big news.