In the right season, I sink to my knees. Something is always churning at ground level and I might catch a good floor show. Gardening may be a sanctioned hobby, sustained by a million garden centers, buoyed by as many blog sites and adjacent social media chatter, but a gardener who is, regardless of season, preoccupied with compost and pruning, on how to cheat the restraint of climate zones, who must read every gardening book and catalog like a crime thriller, is no longer normal. You are shoved out of the pastime category and into the margins with other cultists.
I am a constant gardener, one of the possessed. Sometimes in passing when I mention my addiction I get the head cock and the indulgent smile from those baffled by my devotions. Some may wonder if I should be trying to take my place in a world that demands a mark, some kind of crisp achievement as a known entity. Especially in nearby status-obsessed Aspen, where demarcations of money and class are as visible as the ski runs. Shouldn’t I be hurtling towards a fixed spot in a worldly constellation instead of devoting time to ogling seedlings? Nope. For me, gardening brings inspiration, solace, and joy in one fell swoop.
My garden holds my signature, and the signature of all of its botanical and animal inhabitants. It is a collaboration with countless partners who are in constant motion. The perennial garden wraps around my house in two coils, like a loose double strand of pearls, separating the house from another unruly garden with no steward except the federal government. Every time I move through my cultivated space, or this wild space, there is discovery. I feel like a child who continuously shakes the kaleidoscope to rediscover different formations of the same pile of bits.
It is here where my worlds intersect, and here where that constant loop of memories and regret and should haves gets muted, giving way to forms, color, and light. It is here where crisis finds perspective, and tranquility, a platform. It is here I process what I have lost, where the benevolent ghosts come to play. It is here where I celebrate what I have and what I have gained.