Sit a Spell. It’s Not as Easy as You Think.

Sit a Spell. It’s Not as Easy as You Think.

I seldom sit in my garden. There are too many distractions. I have spots where I like to sit, but as soon as I plop my weary ass down, I see a stray weed.

I’m not the only one distracted.

Evelyn Hadden fought back. Rather than be dragged down with garden chores, she found a clever way to stay focused on the thrill, while working in hers.

I resolve to sit a spell and enjoy my own garden.

I always liked to visit my neighbors, Mary and Paul McKinney, when I lived near Fletcher, NC. They would say, “Come sit a spell.” We’d sit on their screened back porch, looking out at a half-acre of blueberry bushes, an acre of strawberries and a mess of work. We’d talk for an hour or more, then I would announce it was time to go. They’d say, “Don’t be in such a hurry.” The McKinneys were hard-working people.

They could sit a spell.

I come from a long line of folks who seldom sat—inside or out. At least, not until it was time for a cocktail. I was drinking before I was gardening. Dad gave me rare, fatherly advice on my first night with a driver’s license, age 16. He handed me the keys to his 1967 dark blue Pontiac Le Mans and said, “Son, don’t drink too much and drive too fast.” I am still trying to process what that meant.

There was a hammock hung from a pergola, near where we’d gather years later. It was little more than a photo prop. “Look! We can relax!” It was rare that anyone, besides children, got in the hammock. A hammock is perfect for a summer nap. I like a good nap. The rest of my family considered this a genetic flaw.

I love sitting in other gardens. A cocktail or a glass of wine combined with small talk and tall flowers is still a pleasure. I sometimes get itchy and want to jump up and wander around. I’ve learned to control my urges. My mother didn’t teach me how to relax, but she taught me good manners. She also showed me how to iron a dress shirt and recognize a well-loved garden.

It’s easy to tell when a garden is loved. Happy gardeners are married to their gardens, whether they are stylish layouts or a cluttered hodgepodge. Happy gardens can be packed with rare species or loaded with ordinary plants. A blue gentian will pull me off my seat; so will a well-tended row of okra. Gardening is a fitful, loving relationship with burdensome obligations. The hateful don’t garden.

I have M.S. I get along OK, but I don’t do heat very well. I start to drag a little by noon, especially whenever I read one more word about the orange fascist. I’m also 65. I get tired.

I’m learning to sit a spell.

If all goes well, my brain comes unhinged from my conscious awareness.

When I snap out of it, I start thinking about a nap.

Posted by

Allen Bush
on July 13, 2016 at 8:12 am, in the category Real Gardens, What’s Happening.

One Comment

    • Tom Fischer
    • 15th July 2015

    Lovely piece, Allen. I find it appalling that so few men know how to iron a shirt. My grandmother taught me,

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