The garden is finally starting to come in this summer. I’m on vacation for 2 weeks, and I spent a lovely morning the other day puttering in the vegetable garden. I pulled out all the peas, which did really well this year, but which were starting to get woody. The tomatoes are starting to pop after a couple of days of hot weather — it really takes until August to get a tomato around here, but once they get past that 6-inch stage it feels like summer’s really begun. I have a lot of greens, and more onions than I kind of meant to plant, and I’m waging a losing war against the flea beetles for the eggplants.
It was such a lovely morning, just puttering. Pulling pea plants and harvesting what was left, putting in beans, some more lettuces. I’m also having work done on my house and my carpenter was hanging out in the backyard painting some boards which will replace the rotten ones he’s pulling off the house. Every once in a while one or the other of us would stop, look at something in the garden, chat — it’s been nice having some company — it’s the thing I miss most since Patrick died, just having someone friendly around, someone to chat with in that sort of idle, around-the-house kind of way. Turns out my carpenter used to have a garden. “I should start one up again,” he said at one point, eating a raw pea. “I mean, I got a dog again, maybe I should start another garden.” Turns out that like so many of us up here in this crazy little town, my carpenter had something of a breakdown a couple of years ago —
It’s one of the reasons I’ve insisted on keeping up the garden. I remember that first spring after Patrick died, when everything was so dark, when I kept telling myself “depressed people don’t start gardens. So, I must be okay.” It’s been a little grim around here lately — there have been a few too many days when the thought of living the next forty or fifty years alone without my brother seems hardly worth doing, but it’s the little stuff that can keep your head above water. Growing things that need tending. Taking care of the dogs. Getting the house fixed and painted. As the Dalai Lama once said: “make positive effort for the good.”