Long years the gardener with no garden. Raking others' leaves. Pulling others' weeds. Pruning others' trees. All for a paycheck. Walking street corners hustling my craft, flashing my Felcos to those willing to pay. Soaked in cold Northwest drizzle and gloom, thinking: better the chill of rain, better the vicarious thrill of clients' dirt on my hands than recycled air and cubicle walls closing in. How gladly I would sell my body's warmth for a chance to sink my fingers into your soil.
That's me: putting the whore in horticulture. What choice did I have? No land of my own. Keeper of no garden not born of 1.5 cubic foot bags and dumped into cracked discount pots and buckets on whatever meager balcony or porch a city's lease provided. Coaxing sickly beans and carrots from too-small containers in too-little light; cursing those with land and no inclination to work it, those with sunshine to spare and and no leaves to catch it. But no more!
At long last onward and upward (well, onward and Northward anyway). Out of the urban stacks of strangers, pets and furniture; away from their 12-month contracts and landlord lieges. Onward into the cinder block sprawl of this post-war widows' suburbia, with its 30-year contracts, bank lieges, and — most importantly — backyards!
So it is that, clambering to the rooftop, I survey the grounds of this manor as though from a sweeping promontory. I gaze out over the small patch of empty lawn wrapped in broken blue fence and see only the garden it will become. I see a home for my long-captive potted plants; I see my daughter picking apples in the fall; I see my wife cutting Dahlias for bouquets; I see myself reminding my wife that she promised to dig up the Dahlias to bring in for the winter; I see myself digging up Dahlias to bring in for the winter.
Oh, and I see no fewer than five stray cats who seem to think the future gardens of Fencebroke Promontory are to resemble nothing so much as a litter box.
For now, I'm off to chase cats. But stick around, for soon … a garden!