I sat in a pile of freshly turned earth breaking dirt clods to prepare for a new garden plot. The fact that we already have one plot in our community garden that measures 16×16 and one plot at the college that measures approximately 6×44 doesn’t seem to diminish my wife’s need to turn more earth, to create more space to grow enough food to feed half the planet. Or is it to have more organic vegetables to add to the vats-o-soup that she cooks for the nonexistent army that lives at our house. I sometimes wonder if she will ever realize that our son and daughter are both beyond thirty and have gardens and vats-o-soup of their own and their friends who use to come to the house for the kaleidoscope array of dinners that she placed on the table are also past thirty and no longer darken our doorstep with their Oliver Twist bowl and well rehearsed “Please sir, I want some more.”
With that thought and said, I return us to act one in the garden.
The clouds are rolling in with a mixture of high and low, cumulus and strata-cumulus, dark and light, a painters pallet of greys, and several shades of blue…simply it’s a south west sky. I begin to bemoan the fact we are not in the Escalante in the Southwest, with the plateaus before us and this sky above. I need to photograph!!! The gas prices will keep us closer to home this summer and maybe by next summer after I have committed enough gas station heists (of the gas that is more valuable than the cash in the drawer) to enable us to hook up the travel trailer and head out for parts known and unknown where my cameras will get the service for which they were created.
But now the gardening is done for the day and we begin to walk home through a light summer rain that is falling through the magical sun rays of evening. This combination of mixed sensations send me on a journey longer and to a place further away that any amount of gas or pocket of money can take me.
My mind conjures up days of my Midwest childhood where I ran between the raindrops until the clouds overhead released a torrent of rain so thick it made the gutters of our neighborhood run like rivers…carrying away the dust and dirt of previously cloudless summer days…bringing with it the smell of warm summer rain on hot asphalt…cleaning my feet of the many days of Tom Sawyer dirt. My arms are stretched to the limit from their sockets, my back arched to breaking, enabling my chest to receive the pounding massage and cleansing shower provided by the torrent falling upon me…my face turned to the sky, my mouth drinking the sweet wetness falling into it and upon me…can I never return from this reverie?…
“It’s trash day. Could you make sure the litter box gets emptied and the trash taken to the curb? I’ll go in and make a salad of the fresh greens from the garden.”
My wife disappears into the house and I to the trashcans. The moist warm air still hangs all around me and like a wisp of smoke it lifts me back…back….back into the Walter Mitty world of my youth…back into a summer daze.
My sleeves are rolled up around my bulging biceps and my forearms ripple with sinewy musculature as I grab the trash cans, ready to heave their contents into the rear of the garbage truck rumbling at the curb, the ever hungry monster oblivious to the cost of the fuel necessary to supply the blood of life required to keep it operating, and then to toss the trash can with total disregard as to its landing spot or unusable condition after impact and on to my next victim…a can of vegetables so thoughtlessly left by the woman of the house at the curb.