That’s me—a helicopter gardener. My first year since 1993 without a real garden of my own and I have all the time in the world to plan, plant, weed, mulch and water. Well, not all the time but much more than I’ve had previously. So with time and a little plot, much like an over protective parent, I am out watering and a bit of weeding most days. The weeds are small and mighty—how I wish I had brought my small curved fork on a stick. Moving, I let go of almost all of my gardening tools. I use the rake my landlords have to weed and then put in some hands-and-knees time. I contemplate straw mulch. I’ve spotted the morning glory seedlings along the fence line but I don’t know what sunflower seedlings look like. I weed around the morning glory and try to remember where I planted sunflowers.
Most of the vegetable plants are doing well without fuss. I planted too early—yes, indeed, I did—and there have been many slow starts. Some of the basil and the rainbow chard show cold burn but even those are beginning to perk up. I worried the sudden onset of very hot weather yesterday and then laughed at myself. Too hot, too cold—most of the plants will do fine. They always have.
I am, many times, in the virtual company of people who are doing well or at least passing this time pretty contentedly. I am of course grateful for our comforts and securities, and also grateful for the community connections that zoom allows me to nurture but I grow less and less well. I am lonely and without purpose. I am marking time at best and many days slipping backwards. I see Julia’s world getting smaller with much frustration on her part. I work to expand her world where I can but it is never enough. I see my own world not expanding. I understand why but that does help. I wish for a project to get lost in, I wish to feel useful. Neither wish feels attainable this week.
School is finishing up this week and summer is still a mystery. Summer school, which sounded wonderful a few months ago, remains uncertain. We may hear from the governor next week or the next. Julia wants very badly to go to the Boston Comic Con at the beginning of August. I can’t believe that it will happen but optimistically the website is still selling tickets. I tell Julia that I doubt it will happen and of course, then I am the bad guy. A writer friend sent an idea from JK Rowling who is releasing a new serial story online and opening up the illustrating of it to young artists. Julia is too old to qualify for the illustration competition but it may still be a good summer project and I am not above writing to JK and asking that the competition include artists with disabilities.
Her final math project is to create a recipe for a favorite food. Julia wanted to make a cake. We found very easy cake and chocolate frosting recipes. She did the preliminary work sheet for her class, writing down the ingredients, what tools she would need and the recipe. The recipes that have come home from her math teacher have all been illustrated for non-readers. I am hoping that Julia will work on illustrations in the next two weeks.
Days are long; weeks fly by; months disappear. A sense of purpose may be far too much to expect during this time but I have not found a substitute. I remain curious.