April 13, 2010

The Garden of Hope

When I first moved into this bungalow on Hyperion, there was an longish oval shaped patch of yellow weeds and sick looking dirt, hard, cracked, greying, spanning the length of my door to my neighbor's.  My friend urged me not to move into this 'dump'.  But boy was it cheap.  So I thought I'd first set up to beautify the exterior with a garden.  Quite excited was I because growing up, we had gardeners and I never lifted a finger.  But I'd watch my dad out back after work or on weekends toiling to plant some nursery item he'd just bought.  So I figured, now's my time to figure out green thumbing.    Well with one push of a shovel into the dirt, I knew this was not going to be something for the single lady.   So I persuaded my friend Josh  (Josh now is an organic farmer in Hawaii..) to come over one afternoon and we began to amend the soil...in August ...in LA.   It was so cement like and 'disturbed' that we probably should have used jackhammers.   It was like we were stilt walking on our shovels most of the time but finally the 'dirt' started turning a deep shade of brown.   I then went on a shopping spree at the nursery to make an herb and vegetable box and chose sun light friendly flowers.   For a while I weeded and plucked up what yellow brittle grass would continue to arise - apparently this ugly patch had been a green lawn at some point in the past.  I would puff up a bit with pride but then enter a slump as I saw my lovely flowers, my gardenia plant, my purple and blue and white tulip-y flowers shrivel up in the LA summer and eventually the neighborhood cats (mine included) turned my herb box into a litter box.  And my neighbor Eddie turned his corner of the 'garden' into an ashtray to which I responded by regularly piling up the cigarette butts and putting them on his front porch with a little love note as to how he should just buy a proper ashtray.  

But now years later, this garden grows itself.  I'm kind of amazed.  I hardly do a thing.  I got smarter and got succulents and cactii, roses and rosemary and it just sustains itself year after year.  In a meditation session, it flashed....  You amend the 'soil', sweat it out, jump all over it, get a few plants and seeds and for a while, you beat back the invaders and trim the shrubs.  You even give up as you see some things shrivel and die and then figure out another way.  Then, eventually however, you let it be and it just is there, in a kind of almost dare I say lazy glory!  This garden gives me hope.