Black Cat

Going not gentle into that middle age.

Communing with Sweat

Filed under: Black Thumb Gardening — 9 June 2006 @ 6:06 pm

Yesterday I spent 2 1/2 hours digging out half of the fern jungle that was threatening to swallow the driveway, pulling out blackberry brambles that some idiot planted in a former life, trimming bushes that had died last winter, and listening to the neighborhood drunk rag on about how the Russians and the Poles are liars and cheats. This is a favorite theme of his. Everytime he sees me or my DH, his pickled brain starts the spiel going. About how the former owner (a Pole in the drunk’s mind), who’s been dead for a couple of decades now, cheated him out of a 2 meter wide strip of land and added it to the property we’re living on now. We never met that old guy. We just rent the place. But every time we run into the drunk (he smells of cheap red wine, by the way), we get an earful. Of slurred German. Which is not our native language.

I did not commune with nature for this period of time. It was not a mystical, uplifting, life-affirming experience. Not only because of the drunk. He’s harmless enough, just noisy. I do not commune with plants. Or earth. Or fresh air. The only time I have a sense of communing with something is when I hold my 17 year old cat in my arms and think about how our lives have been enriched by knowing him, and about how we probably won’t be enjoying his company for much longer.

Plants come and go. The ones I like die, and the weeds overrun the place. But I love to commune with my cat. He’s never actually said “thank you”, I’ll grant you that. But he likes to share with us the things that make him happy. He hangs out in whatever room we’re in. He drinks the shower water from the bathtub. He nestles in DH’s lap when we settle down to watch a DVD. He wakes me at an ungodly hour of the morning to let me know that the birds are calling him to come out onto the balcony. I commune with my cat.

Plants just sit there. If you’re lucky you get a few flowers. Otherwise you have to cut them back and pull them out and then do more of the same next week. Unless they die, in which case you just have to pull them out.

2 1/2 hours of sweat and sore muscles. And I’m going out tomorrow to hoe the rear garden path so that the old man who’s my downstairs neighbor can reach the little section of the garden that belongs to him. Knowing that I’ve made life a little easier for him makes me happy. But I’d rather be a lazy bastard and sit in front of the computer with my cat sleeping beside me in his special chair. Sigh. I may wind up being physically fit this summer in spite of myself.

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