I’d forgotten how peaceful it is on grey days in Paradise. I used to love this weather when I was working because it was cool, and I could wear sweaters and jackets that helped me dupe myself into thinking I looked thin, well, thinner. Warm, sunny days meant no jacket and blouses whose buttons bulged at the bust or trouser waistbands that cut in painfully at the waist, revealing a rather unnatural indentation through any knit top I wore, more noticeable from the rear than from the front. I won’t discuss exposed arms protruding from sleeveless shells. UGH. Yes, grey days have their merit.
But it has been extremely grey for days now, forcing me to think about all the perky people in the world who thrive on sunshine. I’m beginning to see why they enjoy it now that I don’t have to wear anything but pajamas, sweats, and yoga pants. I’ve thought about all the college kids who come here for spring break to relax and party, and know they’re probably fairly pissed off about all this June Gloom business in March.
Even though my only intention in going outside this morning was to gather up the brown cuttings I had left in piles a week ago, I soon found myself reaching through the plants with the hand rake to straighten things up a bit. I love doing that. It’s so satisfying making all that dirt look so clean — but there’s a drawback when you are supposed to be “cleaning up.” The patio was again covered with brown, moist leaves, spent blooms, and snails that had been dragged from their hiding places and were now helter-skelter making a run for it. One by one, I hijacked the slimey plant wreckers in mid-flight and threw them over the wall where, at some point, a car would put them out of their cracked misery. Exactly what part of the food chain are they anyway unless someone like me exposes their soft, mushy parts to organisms looking for a snack? One of these days, some unfortunate walker is going to get whacked in the head and I’m going to have to run and hide.
I could hear the woman next door, upstairs on the phone. From her vantage point, I knew she could see everything on my patio and was probably thinking I was nuts raking in the mud in my pajamas and chucking snails in the road. She has gardeners that do her patio. Thank goodness the RT scooped the poop yesterday. Ever the cool one when I’ve been caught, I paused to take hold of my coffee and acted like I was sizing up the situation — which was sort of true because I still haven’t planted those flowers I bought on Saturday. I moved toward the door so I could slink back inside, leaving yet another mess outside to turn brown and have to be picked up next week. Such a tiresome cycle of inefficiency. But as I made it inside, I saw my new pair of Fiskars sitting near the door, and knew I’d have to go back out again. What difference did it make anyway? I’d already gotten rid of all the snails and it wasn’t like I was slinging dog turds.
The Fiskars were a vast improvement on the pruners I’d been using for the past year. But that’s usually the case when you are in the habit of leaving them outside to get rusty each year and then throw them away. Unruly vines of honeysuckle, woody begonia stems, and dead lavender sprigs soon joined the mess scattered across the flagstones, but things quickly began to look better. A dove called mournfully nearby, most likely waiting for me to go back in the house so she could drink from the fountain. Nearly finished, I scraped and swept the pungent cuttings into a large black bag and tied it off to take to the trash.
I’m waiting for the day that I see a neighbor peering through their blinds to wonder what it is I carry out from such a small garden in those huge… plastic… bags…