I am sitting here listening to the rain on my roof (the most beautiful sound there is in the high desert), and trying to recall how I spent the quiet moments, the in between moments, before I had my devices.
When I was in college I never had internet in my home let alone a personal television. How did I spend the ample time alone that I had? I wrote a lot, I thought a lot, and I read. I exercised almost daily in the morning and I cooked meals for myself. I listened to music. Not playlists or radio but almost exclusively whole albums. That is it. That is how I spent time alone.
Later during graduate school I gained a small television with a DVD player. I still didn’t pay for tv but used it to watch videos at night. Still no internet. I spent alone time reading, writing less, but I painted and drew more.
Finally when J, just my boyfriend then, and I moved to the city to go to school we got internet. By then streaming video had become available. At that point I was studying for the LSAT and from then on I began to use my downtime for the internet rather than my previous activities. When I started law school I put down all books besides law books and we got cable tv for the first time. I did not want to think about anything when I didn’t have to think about the law, which wasn’t often. At that point I had less time alone anyway because I had been living with J for years. The quiet moments died away altogether.
Now we don’t have tv but we do have tablets and high speed internet and a computer. And a toddler. My rare quiet moments of solitude are often spent with an iphone. Thanks to this blog I am increasingly spending these moments to write, and I do spend a great deal of time gardening, but there is still too much clutter in my mind. I am trying to plot a break from the addiction and some return to quiet. Our wifi is eradicate so perhaps if I reduced my monthly data I would use the phone or tablet less. The only real way I can see doing it is to get rid of the wifi access in our home. This is rather drastic maybe, but my dad lives very close by so we could go there to pay bills etcetera. I will have a talk with J and see if we can brave this move. In the meantime the rain has stopped and my child is stirring. This quiet moment has passed.
I just have to express my pure elation at having a long held dream come true. I was about 11 when I planted my first pea plant and it was then that I started sending out for mail order seed catalogs. We had a sunroom attached to our home and I enjoyed a brief time of growing and planting and perusing as a child before we moved to the city. It was years until I had a garden again, not until college in Washington state where gardening was so very different. I watered four foot high lavender bushes and marveled at the zeal with which seedlings grew in the moist soil. It was again, a brief time and it would be another 4 or 5 years after that before I would have a garden again. The next time it was at our small house on a busy street in the punishing sun of Albuquerque. We cultivated the neglected dusty patch of land and enjoyed a couple summers of vegetables and started really exploring native and drought tolerant plants. It was a joy. Law school, several moves later, and a punishing work schedule meant that our dusty little plot fell once again into neglect.
Now, once again years later, I have just had the supreme pleasure of planting in my own newly built greenhouse. I have been waiting and planning for and dreaming of this perfectly mild evening with a quiet breeze and the sounds of crickets and the trickle of a water fountain for years. It is here and it is beautiful. My almost two year old son scampered around handing us seedlings and watering cans and running after the dogs. I have taught him that seedlings are ‘babies’ and that he has to be gentle with them, so he pets them lightly to demonstrate his understanding. Today was a good day. Here are pictures of the greenhouse on day 1.
We have planted:
Sugar baby watermelons
I also put some arugula in, though I believe it will be too warm before I can get much out of it.
To come: zucchini and cantaloupe and my cucumber seedlings.
We also need to get in some trees around the southern side to provide some summer shade and a wind break. I am also looking to plant some wild plum, New Mexican privet, and piñon to the north to block our view of the road and define a small courtyard filled with perennial herbs. The day dreaming never ceases.
I hope your spring days are bringing sweet breezes and warm sunsets.
When I entered college I took my education seriously, throwing myself headlong into a search for the truth. I wanted to know what it meant, I wanted order, and I wanted answers. Jesus comforted me and the Jewish God pulled me because of the blood in my veins. I was more able to let my reason wrangle with some Eastern doctrines, but I was never able to believe. Nietzsche scared me and I searched St. Augustine’s confessions trying to find his gateway to enlightenment in the orchard so that I might follow. Shakespeare, Aristotle, Plato, Emerson, Heidegger, Chaucer and on and on. All beautiful all persuasive no answers. More questions.
So I traveled to see if the world itself held answers. What I saw was a world so vast and so beautiful so complex so full of suffering and so beyond me. I resolved to abandon a search for meaning and truth in favor of service in an effort to gain some control and attempt to help to alleviate what suffering I could. This led me back home and to law school. All jokes aside, I entered and graduated with the earnest desire to help and a belief that it was possible.
After a little over one year, toiling in the public sector of criminal justice, I became pregnant. I watched helplessly as battered women returned to their abusers. I read police report after police report detailing the sordid details of the day to day suffering and abuses of my fellow citizens. I saw poverty and education and addiction and circumstance after circumstance that led people to these painful points, sitting before a judge, in cop car, on the run. As my belly grew, so did my fear that I was not actually contributing what I had hoped. That my hands were tied by a vast web of facts and circumstances and cynicism crept in sooner than I would have expected.
Then I gave birth.
It all melted away into the eyes of my child and he became the world. Meaning or truth were nothing to what I felt and I no longer needed them. My fervor to help my fellow men and women drained into the duty of caring for this one human. My restlessness, searching, angst, all were gone and I now spend most my time in the sweet exhaustion of motherhood. I still care about the world and it’s occupants, and and philosophy still move me, but none of it matters when he laughs and cries and sleeps and eats. And when I feel the stir of new life inside my once again growing belly.
I know it isn’t very modern of me. I do love being a mother and am so surprised and quietly joyful that it has brought me so much peace. Happy Mother’s Day.
My shipment of seeds has arrived. I have carefully laid out the packs, labeled my markers, and I am waiting for a couple of hours to get some starts going. (This can be challenging with my small toddler companion). I have chosen a number of perennial herbs to interplant with my veggies (see post ‘herbal companions), as well as to use for flower beds. A number of them are also very attractive to pollinators, I have to do my part, and many are drought tolerant as well. I have steered a little away from native species, though not completely. The idea is to create planting communities that serve multiple purposes, will survive without coddling in the harsh environment, and of course be beautiful.
Our greenhouse is nearly complete, and I am planning to do pretty large quantities of these seedlings- both because I have a lot of planting to do on our property and because I am curious to see if I’ll be able to provide starts for our landscaping clients.
Below is a list of my picks along with pictures. I hope to eventually add in plant heights and spacing as well as potential companions, but this is just the beginning to provide fodder for the imagination which is so very important when planting by seed.
(All photos from Pinterest, I will be taking my own as the season progresses)
Salvia officinalis (garden sage)
Daucus carota (queen anne’s lace)
Borago officinalis (borage)
Solidago canandensis (Goldenrod)
Centranthus ruber (Jupiter’s beard)
Sideritis syriaca (Greek mountain tea)
Anthemis tinctoria (chamomile)
Asclepias Speciosa (showy milkweed)