As The Worm Turns


It’s springtime in Seattle at last. May finds us stumbling out of our burrows, blinking in the unaccustomed glare of bright sunshine. We’re digging, mowing, spraying, playing. There’s a sort of frantic sense of urgency to it. We know it can’t last.

All the more reason to throw our backs out today, for tomorrow the clouds and showers will, in all likelihood, roll back in, the temperatures will sink into the sullen forties, just cold enough to ruin a picnic.

But it’s all good. The days are getting longer, the Mariners haven’t started losing daily yet, and the roses are just beginning to throw caution to the winds and embrace the fleeting season.

Many people tout Seattle’s weather, dreary as it may be for eight or nine months of the year, as the reason for the region’s seductive charm. And it’s true that when it’s good around here, it’s really good. No humidity, few bugs, no need for air conditioning, brilliant vistas in all directions. What’s not to like?

Well, I could start that list too, but I don’t have time to spare. My garden is a mess. So what else is new, you say? Hey, just because I can’t keep a clean house is no reason to assume my garden will reflect the same casual attitude toward symmetry and style. No, my garden suffers from the same syndrome that dooms my wardrobe: I’m a sucker for impulse buys.

In my closet a lifetime of dubious choices has left me with a collection of mismatched tops, skirts and pants, to say nothing of footwear. It’s a cacophony of colors, patterns and styles, none in harmony. Sadly, the same can be said of my garden. I have, of course, made attempts to bring some sense of order to the chaos. But no matter how firmly I set out on the path of discipline and simplicity, I end up in the Bermuda Triangle of gardens. Plants go there and disappear.

I’ve tried to correct this. And judging by the collection of landscapers’ business cards which flutter onto my doorstep like confetti, the professionals look at my garden and see a cry for help. But, I really don’t want someone else working in my garden. The whole point of it is that I get to play in it. It may be a mess, but it’s a reflection of what I am – a sinkhole of desires, dreams and delusions. For me, the garden is a metaphor for life. The point is not to get it finished, but to keep at it.

So I’ll leave it to the horticulture experts and the hired landscapers to create garden perfection, while I stick to what I know – making messes, thankful that, though I may never escape my own folly, at least I’m still digging it.

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