I love spring: the birds, the flowers, the gorgeous budding trees. But it heralds the start of my least favorite season: yardworking.
I hate it. I hate the tools. I hate the sweat. I hate the mulch and dirt.
When my husband and I first purchased our home, filled with delight over the concepts of planting flowerbeds, chopping firewood, and growing our own vegetables, we were childless, young, full of energy and romance. I lovingly created flowerbed after flowerbed. Hubby built me a beautiful wooden arbor and enclosure for our vegetable patch. We loved it. We bought a ride-on mower for our acre of lawn – hubby thrilled it boasted a drink-holder. It was fun, it was enchanting, it was new.
Lord, were we foolish. Now each spring arrives with the promise of near-constant weeding, endless lawn mowing, more tree-trimming and shrub-taming. Why did I dig all those damn flowerbeds?? What was once fun and romantic is now dreaded drudgery. I begin each spring by trying to psych myself up into a state of enthusiasm about making the gardens beautiful. Think how lovely the flowers will be if they’re not choked with weeds! It’s a hell of a mental effort. It takes a while, too. I avert my eyes from the poor, neglected front garden as I park in the driveway and ferry grocery bags from trunk to kitchen, deliver children home from school.
I have wonderful memories of playing in the yard with my children when they were small. Racing up and down the lawn, Easter egg hunts, my daughter with her trowel and watering can. My son with his shovel and the hose. They helped me plant and harvest peas, potatoes, bush beans, tomatoes, carrots, beets. They ate veggies sun-warm, straight from the stalks. It was idyllic. It was beautiful. It was a lot of damn work.
Now the children have to be bribed and threatened in order to even consider shifting any dirt to make room for a tomato seedling. I think perhaps we’ve all entered a state of disenchantment with the garden. Yes, we love for it to be beautiful, but can we please pay someone else to maintain it?
We’re too cheap for that, so the trick – as with most dreaded tasks – is just to get started with it already. Crank some music on the Ipod, stick the earbuds in, don the work gloves and get digging, mowing, hacking, chopping, and try not to fantasize about that day in the future when you’ll live in a yardless condo. Yes, that day will be awesome. But right here, right now, enjoy pulling the damn weeds while you’re still young enough to do it.
And the thing is, once I give in and start working, it’s kinda okay. Maybe even a little satisfying and therapeutic. Maybe. And I love when the local nursery is finally stocked up with annuals and we force the kids into the car to go there and we let them each pick out a bunch of flowers. We bring the blooms home and cajole the kids into planting their choices in pots, watering them, and standing back to survey their efforts. And I love that smile my soil-smudged children wear when they agree that yes, the colorful beauty was worth the trouble after all.