Sometimes I wonder who's in charge around here. One of my Lenten resolutions was a "news fast": I have toiled through the phone purgatory of the New York Times' home delivery "customer service" line twice requesting the suspension of my weekday only delivery, so that my mornings might be spent springing about the house and garden in a frenzy of renovation projects (or meditation, or Pilates) instead of lingering over breakfast with the Grey Lady and her daily dose of car bombs and style-setters. But the thing keeps coming every weekday anyway, and I can't bring myself to simply place the unopened paper to one side.
I did, however, let the Child drag me out into the garden yesterday, where the annual rites of Mud Season began. Not only did several rose bushes get mercilessly pruned, but I whipped out the loppers and started to discipline the cranberry bush viburnum, which has morphed from a "native shrub" to a handsome if overly ambitious tree to a wildly invasive grove, spreading by means of thick ground-level runners. Lopping away like mad, I realized the extent to which the garden has always bullied me. It began as a garbage-strewn lot, and I've always been so grateful for anything that will grow that I tend to let the aggressors have absurd free rein. Years ago, I planted a few raspberry canes against the back fence; they have marched inexorably toward the center of the garden, their rear guard dying off. The ferns are pulling the same stunt next to the shady garage wall, creeping like Birnam wood en route to Dunsinane. Every year I resolved to lift them and put them back in their assigned places, or just tear them out altogether, and every year they run roughshod over me. Well, no more Ms. Nice Gardener; I yanked up a raspberry cane and plugged it back yonder.
Of course, this sort of thinking soon leads to a head swimming with ambitious visions for sweeping redesigns, glorious new hardscaping, garage demolition...and before long, I am overwhelmed and hyperventilating, and then I remember that what I can afford is a new bag of manure and some flats of pansies. And then (despite the weirdly early advent of daylight savings time) it is dinner time, and all I've got to show for it is a lawn'n'leaf bag full of thorny canes. There are no herb sprouts up yet (I eagerly await the first mint), but the crocus are being brave. Braver than me.
Messenger: As I did stand my watch upon the hill,
I look'd toward Birnam, and anon, methought,
The wood began to move.
Macbeth: Liar and slave!
Messenger: Let me endure your wrath, if't be not so:
Within this three mile may you see it coming;
I say, a moving grove.
--Macbeth, Act V, Scene V