Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'm Gonna Have to Face It, I'm Addicted to Mums

Bob and I have picked possibly the last beans of my inaugural gardening season. Everything but the beets, eggplants and lettuce have come to an end. Even the cherry tomatoes I wrote of
recently have met a watery demise as rains continue to fall.

Bob became my gardening go-to guy late in the growing season. We found one another in mid-August just after he had moved into a local store. There he sat on a shelf awaiting the holidays. Now he sits in my garden awaiting the next task. He's been spared the endless cycle of holiday tunes that play endlessly starting November 1st and I've gotten a gardening partner.

People complain about not being able to find 'good' help. Bob's in the garden 24/7. Always wearing the same content expression; he's reliable, steadfast and wise. When the bugs ate two of my three broccoli plants, Bob reminded me this opened space for green beans. When the cauliflower succumbed to the same bugs, he reminded that not only do I not eat cauliflower, but that space is good, just space, the empty rich void of garden soil. Bob's detached and never reactive. His motto? Don't just do something. Be here. Bob's Buddhist stance wasn't on the box alongside his tractor with the honking horn and gurgling engine.

Why Bob? Bob's derived from many musical Bob's. First there's Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame acclaimed recently for his Grammy with Nashville's Allison Krauss for "Raising Sand." We still think it should have been "Raising Crops." This Robert also co-wrote "Dirt in a Hole" which we thought might be "our" song, until we discovered it's more about a funeral than a garden. Then there's Blue's musician Robert Cray who I discovered in the very late Nineties (I'm slow). I love this Robert's song "Playing in the Dirt." Bob being a man of morals refuses to play the way the song suggests yet we still dig the song.

I should probably be embarrassed by the last Bob who was actually the first musical Robert who came to mind as Bob's namesake. This Robert made famous the 80's "Addicted to Love" - Robert Palmer, that is. Remember "You're gonna have to face it, you're addicted to love." I know you're thinking, 'Dawn, you're gonna have to face it this is a really bad song from a musically lack luster era.'

Think what you must, we're proudly claiming "Addicted to Love" as our personal anthem, addicted to loving the Earth, that is.

Love, in our case, manifests in nature with plants and animals. I love nature except when an occasional hawk swoops down and grabs one of 'my' birds. With Bob's help, most days I can eventually love the hawk. It's tougher loving people. I've a hard time with hunters as evidenced with my former story, as well as politicians, tv preachers and people who think Mother Earth is their ashtray. It's not that I don't like people, but I can be in the foulest of moods and put me in the yard and my spirit rebounds.

Being someone who lives most of her life according to plans, my addiction to loving life intensifies when I synchronistically come upon real life go-to gardening guys. Sorry, Bob. While taking a slightly different route to the country last weekend, I passed a nursery advertising mums. I wasn't thinking about mums. Mums weren't on my 'to buy' list, yet I couldn't resist seeing what kind of mum one could buy when the sign read: Ten for $30. These mums would surely be Bob-sized. I'm gonna have to make amends to Bob.

I turned around and pulled into Burgess Falls Nursery where moments later Jay, the owner, was loading my trunk with mums about to bloom into the most gentle colors. These were not your usual brilliant purples and yellows for sale everywhere in Fall that eventually die and end up in the trash or compost if they're lucky. These mums were on the verge of blossoming into soothing pastels. To make it even better, they spread if their feet are kept dry with proper drainage.

Sitting on the counter, small brown bags with curious names written on the side enticed me. Inside were garlic bulbs which Jay noted would soon be ready for planting. Who could resist names like Susanville, Bogatyr, Chesnok Red or Music Pink? I drove away with garlic, directions for planting and a mum-filled trunk. Most importantly I sensed having met a kindred spirit. Spontaneous moments and meetings heighten my loving life and help me return to the flow when I don't even know I'm out of it.

Damp from the downpour that passed over during the mum spree, I wiped myself off with a towel from the floorboard. Dirt from my shoes sprinkled my face. Bob says we're here to learn from the plants. They don't complain when wet and dirty. On the contrary, they thrive. So should I.

Happily I stopped in next to see Mike at Mmkm Family Produce Market just down the road. We've only grown green beans so Mike's garden this Fall has provided us with white ones. On this particular day, I buy beans that once shelled are white with purple flecks. I walk out with a with a bag of beans, a handful of potatoes and squash for $4 and best of all the bag was biodegradable.

I wonder sometimes how long this new found love will last until I realize that's the whisper of fear in my ear. Fear says I'm fickle and will grow tired of playing in the dirt. Bob reminds me as long as I'm having fun, sowing and growing will never grow tiring.

In the meantime, as I lay to rest this years plants, next year's garden is being dreamed. Bob clears his throat at this juncture, a signal that I must confess, my dreams are coming to fruition. My order from for tomato and veggie cages as well as potato bins and bean grids arrived this week.

I'm happy to report that Bob and I rose early the next day, moving in day, and welcomed twenty six new souls to their home in our garden. Yes, I made another mum run and thanks to Jay returned with fourteen more. Now Bob sings, "Dawn, you're gonna have to face it, you're addicted to mums."

At days end as I put away my tools, I thought, 'If this is my last day on earth, I have done exactly as I wanted, creating home for the mum souls entrusted to me for as French poet Gerard de Nerval said, "Every flower is a soul blossoming into nature." (from the Burgess Falls Nursery website).

I had found kindred souls at the nursery in plant and human form and lest I forget, earlier this summer in Bob form. As for amends, Bob says, "The only thing needing amending is this soil. Let's learn about composting these leaves and start playing in the dirt."

-Dawn, The Good News Muse,

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