For two months I’ve been meaning to post this photo of my beautiful new flagstone patio, built by my son Kevin of 14-acre Farm. But distractions diverted my energies. First it was the head-to-head with groundhogs (more on that to come), followed by the Forest Ecology class with a wonderful, young, conscientious, you-must-toil-for-these-3-credits professor. Now, a thousand pounds of tomatoes and a trip to Santa Fe later, I am enjoying the Caryopteris and begonias spilling onto Kevin’s geometric patterns. This is the challenge I presented: Use my circular piece of flagstone as a focal point, and connect the utilitarian concrete slab that was poured (without a thought to aesthetics) behind my house many years ago to the part of the lawn that enjoys morning shade.
Plus, I want more garden space.
To be honest, the part about garden space was implicit. Kevin knows that I always want more garden space. Which brings me to the point of this post, that is, addiction. Harmonious, unrepentant addiction. Are we not so very fortunate to be afflicted with the need to dig holes and scuff up the earth around petunias rather than, say, plunk our paycheck into a slot machine? A recurring mental image comes to me each time I see a person in mental dis-ease. It is a line, in the dirt or in the sand, take your pick—or, (apologies) shovel. One step over the line takes me from the garden to the dark side, where addiction is not tolerated by the same society that delights in colorful and textural displays, the creation of which occupy my mind when I drive, shop, live. We addicts are cut from the same cloth. Positively, it is called passion. Negatively—mania, compulsion. Our saving grace is that the world we manipulate in our obsession is endlessly fascinating. We dig, we learn. We strive to understand. We teach. Three-year-old Chloe, visiting from New Jersey, held a sowbug last Sunday and watched it roll into a pill. She stroked a swallowtail butterfly larva that was eating my parsley and laughed when out poked its putrid-smelling retractable orange antennae. She showed her mom. She learned, she taught. How many more can we lure over the line with the force of our passion?
It feels, sometimes, like a race against time.