Sunday, July 15, 2007

Rose Fever

Recently we went out to dinner with people I used to work with that I’d not seen in decades. It was a lot like going to your high school reunion. I was thinking maybe I should get my teeth whitened since that seemed more doable than losing 20 pounds. As it happened, I did neither, and we had a lovely dinner anyway.

They came to our home for dessert. The last time they’d visited, we lived in a small town on nearly an acre. That was during my mega-gardening days when I had the compost heap at the back of the yard and the two gardens—the kitchen garden up by the house and the cutting garden in the back, not to mention the fruit trees and grapevines.

I used to can green beans and tomatoes every year and I had a chest freezer in the basement. I made grapevine wreaths at Christmas. That was how they remembered me—organic gardening woman. I shamefacedly admitted that I was down to four tomato plants, a few black-spotted rose bushes and some ragged perennial beds.

Then on the weekend we visited Columbus and went to the Whetstone Park of Roses in Clintonville which is amazing—11,000 rose bushes and some other specialty gardens. I wandered up and down the holly mazes drunk on the perfume of roses, scuffling through rose petals, giddy with the colors, wanting to go home and order a dozen bare-root plants from a trendy grower.

And I got to thinking about how it is that we have these passions and then we give them up. I am not a fickle person. I’ve been married to the Resident Web Master (RWM) for decades, I’ve had the same haircutter for more than twenty years, which is as long as I’ve lived in my current house.

What happened to me, was, I began to write. And that, in addition to the family and the full time job crowded gardening into the borders of my life, along with handweaving and spinning and sewing and genealogy—all of which I also used to do. Given the technology available today, I’m twenty times more productive than I used to be. I’ve even figured out how to read and work out at the same time.

But it isn’t enough. There’s a saying—there will never be enough time for everything. But there is always enough time for the most important things. Well, maybe. It’s a matter of reconciling yourself to the notion that you can’t do everything.

I think I’m a better writer than a gardener. But no one should have to give up the roses.

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