Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Day in the Garden: The Worm



The worm is alive.  It wriggles, twists, spins amidst the up-turned soil in single-minded effort to return to the moist underpinnings of my garden.  It is not much of a garden and I am not much of a gardener.  Already, my eye skitters from the unfortunate creature, discomfited by the very idea of its existence.  I have never liked worms, nor ants, nor any manner of thing which inches or oozes or bites.  I tolerate the bees that hover at my citrus, kill the spiders that dare cross the dividing line between the out-of-doors and the in, avoid the unseen gaze of the worm whose home I have thus, with spade in hand, disrupted.

The dirt makes my skin itch and the sun has me mentally calculating the spf protections of my foundation.  I wonder if I still have that old bottle of sunscreen I bought in Kansas.  I wonder if sunscreen expires after a year, after two.  How long has it been since I took that last vacation?  My face feels sticky where sweat and make-up have merged.  I feel sticky all over.  The worm writhes in the dirt in front of me.  I push a plant deep into the hole beside it.

No, it is not much of a garden.  I am not much of a gardener.  But I do like flowers.    

I am planting marigolds today, enchanted since girlhood by the ruffled lollipop tops, their brilliant orange/yellow hue.  This year, I will remember to collect their seeds, save them, spread them for a new year.  The marigolds come easily from their plastic containers, one and then another.  I try to alternate colors, yellow and then orange, then that blistering blend of the two.  Even here, even now, there is order, symmetry.  

Behind me, two new hibiscus stand the place of their brother, dead of frost the winter I moved here.  Around the corner, a dahlia.  I have never grown a dahlia, nor killed one.  Either outcome shall be a new experience.  I have placed petunias in pots with snail bait, replacing the skeletal fronds of a dead fern and the spindled branches of a flowering bush long past flower.  I have placed the pots in the garden in hopes that the automated sprinklers shall offer them the attention I failed to provide their predecessors. 
 
I am contemplating the corner by the fence, empty save for some green mossy residue.  It is three o'clock and it is shady and cool there, an oddity in my flower bed which otherwise stands ready host to the sun.  The soil shifts beneath my gloved hands as I try to meld marigold with garden.  I have lost track of the worm but I think it is moving still, twining, twisting its way free of my touch, down deep where neither my spade nor my eyes might find it.

I wish it well.



Author's Note:  My gardening day was last Saturday, the writing today inspired by a poet friend's comment regarding the fun of writing present tense and by my own fixation on that worm...twisting, turning in the dirt.  This would be entry #2 to the WOK Blog challenge.  

12 comments:

  1. Great Post! I could feel the sun, the dirt and see the worm. It inspired me to write about my business of selling worms. Thanks!

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  2. I like this very much, Anna. A favorite line: 'The soil shifts beneath my gloved hands as I try to meld marigold with garden." This is poetry. Thank you. xoA

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    1. Hi Annis! Thank you, that means a lot! :-)

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  3. Focusing on the worm takes you on a journey through your feelings about your garden, pleasant and unpleasant things in your garden, your doubts and frustrations about gardening, and, ultimately, the joy and pleasure you derive from your garden. The journey ends with the worm and the garden and a feeling of detente or neutrality combined with a lovely sense of expectation and hope. Nicely done.

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  4. My favorite line: "It is three o'clock and it is shady and cool there, an oddity in my flower bed which otherwise stands ready host to the sun."

    The moss growing there, where the sun doesn't shine, makes me think how "perfect conditions" can be different for each of us. It pairs well with the gardener who doesn't love gardening (or the things she finds in the garden) and the worm that finds itself in an unexpected situation.

    Mandy

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    1. I really like your thoughts on this....thank you for reading!

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  5. Great post Anna. I love how you talked about the worm while sharing your gardening experiences. Funny how one little critter can inspire a post such as this.

    I wish you success with your marigolds.

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    1. Oh thank you...wish hard please...I am the black thumb of Bakersfield! ;-)

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  6. Felt like I was down there among the plants and the worm.

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