bunt sign

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Turning over all the dirt in the garden is great exercise, but that's about all it's good for. I think. Maybe I'm doing something that will have positive results somewhere down the line, but I can't see them from where I'm standing.

The physical exhaustion doesn't make the digging a bad idea. That's actually a good thing, a sign that I'm working my body harder than I could all winter. Just because I spend the rest of the day walking on wobbly legs and unable to lift my arms doesn't mean I'm not doing some good here. The fact that it only takes about twenty minutes to get to that state doesn't discourage me at all. Well, maybe a little.

The fact that all I'm finding under the dirt are rocks, roots and billions of ants isn't the part that makes the digging ill-conceived. It's unfortunate that the soil is so useless, but I can get even more exercise removing the rocks and roots. The ants will have to take care of themselves. They've been around as a species longer than we have, so I'm not worried about them as long as they stay out of my house. I have to draw the line somewhere, even if I have to draw it with unscented Raid.

When I come in from working out in the sunshine, I'm beat. I'd sit and read, but it takes a while for my glasses to lose their opacity. The lenses turn dark in the daylight, and I can't even see to read when I first come inside. But that's still not the reason it's a questionable enterprise, all this digging in the dirt that seems to get me nowhere.

The real reason I should give up the project is that I find myself developing cravings. After all that work, suddenly I feel entitled. I really, really want on Oreo (or fifty). I want a Snickers, and I want (Golds help me) glazed donuts, the thick, sugary kind from the supermarket bakery instead of the (much healthier) light and fluffy ones. Hostess, not Entenmann's. I don't need to be doing something that makes me want starch and sugar in humungous quantities, especially if it's something of dubious merit in the first place.

Still, I do it. And I've been doing it every day lately. Empty digging equals empty calories. I deal with the craving, to whatever degree I do, because of the benefits I'm getting from the work itself. The benefits to my body I now about, but the potential benefits to the garden itself can't even be known until I get a little further along with the endeavor. Just maybe the future of my yard is starting to take shape now, in these halting and apparently futile first steps.

It's an experiment in hope. For that reason I keep going.

18 May 03

The entrance to my garden.

The other side of hope is also hope. It's hope that whatever I do doesn't turn out to be counterproductive. I don't see how that's possible, because some kind of change is inevitable. But you never know, especially if (like me) you have no idea what someone who knows about these things would do. I don't know how it's going to turn out, except that it's going to be different, and it's almost certain that the difference will be an improvement. But that's only because it could hardly get worse.

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As much as I love baseball, it's hard to watch my team play when they're not hitting well. They just finished a four-game series against the Mets, who have the worst pitching in the league. In the first two games, the Giants had 17 and 15 hits, and they won both of them. In the last two games, yesterday and today, they scored a total of two runs. Two runs in two games gets you zero wins, at least in this case. It's painful to see a good team get the life sucked out of them by good pitching, especially when the opponent hasn't had good pitching all season, until yesterday.

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One year ago: Force of Nature
"I'm starting to feel smaller, like a puppy lost in traffic."

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