is the question of a fool,” says the song.
“Better not to stop and ask. Just take up your tool!”*
These garlic bulbs are from my friend’s garden, grown in the plot next to ours in the community patch. I gave her some of our garlic to plant in our first Chicago fall, 2011, brought from Slaterville. At the time I had nowhere to plant it. I’d carefully marked the varieties when I’d planted them, labeled the drying plants, and kept them separate even for the move. Then when there was no ground for them to go into, they just came into the kitchen, jumbled together. Soon after that, we found some of them a garden. There’s no telling if these bulbs are New York’s progeny, but I like to think so. And I need the memory. Learning about growing garlic, planting it, tending it, photographing it, cutting and eating scapes, and finally digging huge hard neck bulbs in late summer has brought me more joy than I can relate on a page.
Time to plant again.
*I’d tell you the artist, but can’t find it. Remembered from an African record heard lifetimes ago.
Thanks, Ms. Oliver.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
By Mary Oliver
More poems here
And let me listen to Laura Mvula channel Nina Simone
This is the beginnings of the street garden. Major street work and the fear of them ripping up the parkway prevented me from doing anything at all this spring. But the alliums came up anyway, five nice purple spheres. They were fully open for perhaps a day before someone snipped off 3 of them just below the heads, leaving the poor silly stems just standing there dumbfounded. At least the cuts were clean. Then a couple days ago, the 4th one fell to someone trying to pull it but instead just mangling it. Tonight the last one was gone.
So there are a couple ways I can look at this: be angry/sad/dismayed (check!) or be happy I couldn’t do much yet, and now have a better idea of what might survive in this garden (check).
But really anything will be an improvement.
So maybe in fall after they repave the road, I will make a real bed and plant. Over the summer I can practice this: