Reflections from the swamp
Richard van Duyvendyk

Dear Reader

I hope you’ve been enjoying your summer, getting outside, gardening, and swimming in an iceberg-free lake. I’m sorry I forgot to put you in your place; However, I have been busy in the garden and finding a place to swim. Canadians appreciate summer more than people living in more temperate climates.

If we don’t grab the bow as soon as he passes by, we’ll soon be in a snowdrift

My daughter-in-law and I have been gardening together for almost fifty years. We started with the NCC garden site in Ottawa while still attending Carleton as a student. We have a road that runs through our garden that separates it from my side. I call the story “Gardening in North Korea” because I garden on the north side and a clear path creates a dividing line where our vegetable care tools are made differently. I’ve also heard that you need a catchy title to attract readers. I hope the title worked.

My daughter-in-law is the queen of her garden, and I am the glorious poohba on my side of the vegetable patch. The Nova Scotia flag flies proudly on his side, while the red, white and blue Dutch flag flies on mine. Of course, the Dutch side of the garden always looks the best. My daughter-in-law would disagree, but she’s biased. Again, this article is not to judge our gardening skills, but rather to show that even in a loving marriage, each partner needs an area free of gratuitous, unsolicited advice. We both need some space in our union.

I get free advice on everything from driving, dressing, organizing my redneck piles and what to eat; however, the garden provides a sanctuary where I can legitimately ignore it and be creative in my own way, even if I get free advice. Frank Sinatra came in the other day and said the two sides of the garden looked very different. I told her I did it my way and my bride did hers. He said, I understand completely. I can write a song about it. I offered to help, but he said no thanks, I’ll do it my way.

You may be interested to know some of the differences in our gardening techniques. My daughter-in-law plants organically, doesn’t always use rows, and doesn’t like soil, worms, and Ed Lawrence rototillers, because on her side the rototiller won’t let me. He doesn’t like horse manure because a horse has only one stomach and cows have three. He claims that weed seeds are more digested by cows than by horses. He religiously listens to Ed Lawrence on CBC and keeps his book next to his poetry books by his bed. I bet even ED doesn’t know about Mary’s excellence in gardening!

I use a rototiller, my friend with Miracle Grow, and I get my advice from the Mary Mary who is installed in the house on my side of the garden. I don’t pay particular attention to what kind of manure goes into the garden. When I was a child, I saw that my Polish and Ukrainian neighbors often had a statue of Mary placed in an old bathtub in their garden or framed in a wooden box in their garden. When the neighbors told me that Mary looked after the gardens and encouraged the plants to grow, I believed them. I asked Mary to send all the weeds to my daughter-in-law’s garden, and apparently she did. I hoe the weeds once a week, whether I need it or not, I keep the rows clean. My bride hand weeds, it’s difficult for me to have two artificial knees and I don’t like unnecessary bends. I’m like Santa and I prefer to gallop, gallop, gallop. I read that plants can send messages to each other through their root systems. The weeds signaled that their chances of survival were better on the south side and, according to Darwin’s law of survival of the fittest, moved to the bride’s side.

Gardening washes away the dust of everyday life. Writing, visual arts, and creative expression are the same for many people. Our dreams can take flight and release a sense of peace, hope and love. Gardening connects us to Creation, where we can engage in collaborative work with nature that creates canvases that change over time. Our creations go from the birth of plants to their childhood, adolescence, and finally the fruits of their adult lives. We add a few brush strokes here and there as the wonder of life unfolds. Gardening forces us to pay attention to the details of our environment. We pay attention to frost and drought and often pray for rain.

Life is gardening without paints and brushes. Nature provides the canvas and colors and fills in all the details. I believe we were created to be gardeners on this blue-green planet. You don’t have to be good at gardening; you need fun and a sense of belonging.

You are surprised when you wake up in the morning, go out into the garden and see other artists come at night. How could they take your seeds of inspiration and turn them into flowers bursting with color and beauty?

We have many things to do in our life. When I watch the news, it is clear to me that our goals and objectives are easily distorted. We must take care of our souls. This soul loss is complex, like most things, but working with nature to create the garden of this world is a means to heal the wounded soul we all live with.

There are many ways to take care of the garden, do it yourself.

When you step out into someone else’s garden, your soul knows they are in a good place and healing begins. Cares and worries disappear, fresh air is perfumed with healing aromas and Mary and angels whisper in your ear.

By admin

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