Thursday, October 17, 2019

bag 'em, danno

Yesterday the thought of several days of impending rain impelled me to do yard work I had been putting off for two weeks.

My patio is not a garden. I probably have fewer plants there than most people have in their front yards. Four planters with vines and flowers -- and two palm trees. It looks low-maintenance. It isn't.

With the summer rain and heat, everything grows faster than understudies for Audrey II. The palm trees are the worst offenders with their semi-monthly flower stems and the frequent death of fronds. Like most things in life, if they are left untended, the task multiplies.

I just chuckled at that sentence. While I was picking up my cuttings in the heat yesterday, I realized I was verging on crossing that border that all good gardeners avoid. I started believing I was in control of the plants.

It is true that we have absolute control of our life choices as moral agents, but we are fooling ourselves if we believe we control much else. Good gardeners learn that quickly. They tend their gardens; they do not control them. And they learn from them.

Last year I was talking with my blogger pal Al in San Miguel de Allende. His church group was discussing the travails brought on by age and death. My experience is that most gardeners have a rather healthy attitude about both age and death. They daily deal with the cycles of life and know that even the most beautiful of flowers has a compost destiny -- and to nurture the next generation of the garden.

My toil under the sun resulted in two garbage bags of palm flowers and fronds along with assorted vines and leaves. When the bags were full, I toted them to the street corner where the neighbors leave their garbage for our multiple pickups during the week.

My bags were not alone. Last week, someone dropped off three large bags of plastic bottles. I know not of their provenance. I doubt anyone in the neighborhood had collected that many bottles. Maybe they did, but, with the closure of our local recycling center, there was no place to leave them -- other than on the street corner (taking the cycling out of recycle).

The garbage men have been by at least three times since the plastic bottle bags appeared. They will not take them. Or they have not.

Today would have been a great day for doing my landscaping. The rain is soft enough that it would not hinder my work. And the temperature is verging on chilly.

If I still lived in Oregon, I would go for a bicycle ride. But the conditions of our streets here right now are not conducive to cycling.

Instead, I will bag up the bottles I have been accumulating for the past three weeks and take them to a recycling spot in Melaque. On the way, I will buy a fresh slab of pork leg to put my kumquats to good use (kumquat may).

It will be a good afternoon to watch a movie (or to read The Economist) while digging into a bowl of Moroccan-inspired pork kumquat rice.

While remembering that Voltaire was correct (at least, in this instance) that we must cultivate our own garden.  

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