The Essential Earthman: Henry Mitchell on Gardening

I got this book as a gift today and I sneaked into the first pages of it and it is blowing my mind. I could quote to you the whole dang first three pages just to prove it to you, but let me just give you this little bit:

There are no green thumbs or black thumbs. There are only gardeners and non-gardeners. Gardeners are the ones who ruin after ruin get on with the high defiance of nature herself, creating, in the very face of her chaos and tornado, the bower of roses and the pride of irises. It sounds very well to garden a “natural way.” You may see the natural way in any desert, any swamp, any leech-filled laurel hell. Defiance, on the other hand, is what makes gardeners.

My Neighborhood, Which Makes Me Happy

I went over to vote this morning in the Democratic primary and I was just so tickled. First, I vote at the elementary school right around the corner from me, so I was tickled by seeing all the tiny things. I do have a tiny thing fetish. I don’t know what it is. Anyway, the polling place is always staffed by the most awesome and amusing people. Voting here is very strange. You sign in and then go to another place and sign something else and go a third place and hand over a piece of paper and then they let you vote. I don’t know what all it is, but it goes quickly so I don’t mind.

But the guy handling the second signing was all “Do I know you from some place? Why do you look so familiar to me?” (Believe me, he was not hitting on me.) and then we talked about dogs and gardening. I couldn’t figure out where he thought he knew me from, until I got in the car. I almost went back in and asked him if he read the City Paper, which made me submit a headshot for my guest column.

Anyway, not that there was anything wrong with voting at the library at our old place, but voting in Bordeaux/Whites Creek is so awesome it almost makes me giddy with delight. I’m talking from people cheering and crying while voting in the Presidential election (when I voted at the Bordeaux library) to the cheerful friendliness of the folks at the grade school.

So, I was not surprised to see that they’d like to rezone some land just north of us to put in a subdivision. I don’t have an opinion one way or another except that I hate the name “The Cove at Whites Creek.” How can you have a cove without a body of water? Other than that, I can’t really blame people for wanting to build up the area. It really is a lovely place to live.

But it just reconfirms my suspicion that we will be the last people to live in our house. In the zoning materials, there’s all this talk of making Clarksville Pike 4-lane in the distant future and, eventually, if you’re going to have more people in the area, you’re going to need businesses to support them. Right about where we live makes the most sense for places of business.

I don’t know. I could be wrong. I just imagine someday, they’ll tear down our house to put up something else. And I image that “someday” will be sooner rather than later.

Good Sleep, I Miss You

I’ve been sleeping like crap, which is no surprise, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Some stuff, you just can’t do much about and you have to ride it out, you know? Other stuff you can, so I’m trying to get back into walking the dog in the morning, which, frankly, I’ve not done since the flood. It’s just been too wet to walk through yards over to Lloyd, and by wet, I mean, muddy soup.

But I’m desperate. It’s not that I’m not tired. Last night, I kept falling asleep on the couch starting about 7:30, just sitting here upright and nodding off. It’s that, when I go to bed, I don’t sleep any better than that. I feel half-asleep, more aware of what’s going on in the rest of the house. At least, with apnea, when you wake up, you get up, go to the bathroom, putz around–you become fully awake.

This is more like I can’t quite wake up and can’t quite sink far enough into sleep.

So, today, I got up and walked the dog. It’s the only antediluvian thing I hadn’t been doing.

And now, my feet are wet and muddy and cold.

But it was worth it to see the crawdad towers stretched out over five back yards.  Makes me feel like, somehow, we’re living on a fragile crust of land over a vast inland sea, like, if something could have a top shore, our yards are it.

When W. came over to look at the hole in our front yard, a while back, I was laughing and telling him how, when we planted the Tennessee State Library and Archives, which, you may recall, is a willow tree, we found that there was water at the bottom of the hole not a whole shovel spade deep.

When I was walking the dog this morning, there were places in our yards where I would step, sink in a little bit, and then my footprints would fill with water.