Wanderlust vs. homebody…dreamer vs. pragmatist

‘Tis the season of movement. Plants are on the move, so to speak, poking up from under leaves, pushing through the soil where they slept through the winter; birds on the move, for mating and home building…and my mind is starting to wander…around the yard and the countryside.  As Mike and I start spring clean-up, cutting out dead leaf debris, uncovering new growth as perennials appear, clearing away space to widen our ‘back yard’, and putting in a new fence for the vegetable garden, I also start dreaming, which then becomes scheming, and eventually planning, where to take a spring vacation.  I imagine us hitting the road on weekends throughout the spring and summer.

But there is conflict – be home wresting gardens out of the woods, or hooking up the trailer to be part-time gypsies. You can tell by my choice of words where lies my bias!

Behind our house are acres of dense woods. We try to maintain a thin strip, which we call ‘the back yard’.  There is also ‘the side yard’, and even a ‘front yard’.  The recent clearing project, which we do every five years or so on one side or the other, is an attempt to reclaim a small space designated for human fussing and messing with, and keeps us from being engulfed by northwest flora and fauna, which is designed to engulf.  Once there is ‘open space’ we get all energized to create a new planting area, cut out tree limbs, and even trees, for more sunlight, and imagine ourselves sitting in a yard surrounded by flowerbeds, basking in the sun.

Possibilities....cleared (for now) of Salmonberry, nettles, and an overhanging Osier Dogwood branch, a fresh pallet of dirt awaits a garden box for new plantings.

But I know better.  I’m not sure about the adage “with age comes wisdom” but I know with age, and experience, comes cynicism. I am married to an optimist who still thinks, though in his mid-sixties, he will miraculously have time and energy he has never had, after working long physically demanding days, to come home and work in the garden. The reality is he gets caught up in this spring ‘revival’, goes gung-oh, digging, building, cutting, and then goes off to critical projects, like firewood, coop repairs, house maintenance, etc., and doesn’t understand why beautiful beds don’t magically happen and everything he diligently dug out grows back.


This year he is especially challenged by my ‘threat’ to tear out all garden beds, many of which have already ‘gone wild’, and surrender to Nature’s embrace, smothering though it can be.

For one more year I go along with this fantasy, after all, in the past I was the one with garden schemes, and will attempt to do my best to plant newly made beds with plants that like ‘partial shade’ and clay soil (we do add a lot of ‘soil amendments’) and try to keep the weeds down to a small invasion.  We are only in the dream stage and my body already aches. I imagine a weekend at our favorite beach on the coast, or exploring some corner of the NW we have yet to discover.

Mike's inspiration for garden dreaming-crocuses open to the sun, which he would stop to oh and ah at. Today they are closed up tight in the cold rain.

Every spring these two dreams we share collide as other responsibilities…Mom care, Mike’s job demands, as well as health challenges, etc., work to tatter the dreams.  But that is the glory of spring; each new spring brings new hope.  Visions of garden possibilities seem to sprout, like dormant bulbs and plants, which regardless of how they fared last growing season, begin again with fresh growth. As spring fades to summer we will have taken a weekend excursion, planted a few new flowers, and seeded some veggies.  It will be modest compared to spring aspirations, but with age also comes acceptance for what is, and contentment in enjoying little successes (working on this!).

I appreciate I am married to a perennial optimist. And Nature, literally waiting in the wings, is always willing to engulf us in her embrace next year…or the year after that…or…..