I am a gardener. I consider it a large part of my identity. But here I am again in January, in Minnesota, questioning my major life choices, specifically this career and climate in which I cannot actively “career” for 3 months out of the year.
I dream of vacations I would take to places where green things still grow, if I possessed the discipline and cash flow to be able to save money for this purpose. Oh, and if pandemics weren’t a thing. Also, thanks to COVID, I am home supporting my 2nd and 5th graders’ distance learning instead of working part-time outside the home this winter. I much prefer this home arrangement, actually, but the pay is in hugs and smiles which don’t buy vacations, although they totally should because the world would be way cooler.
So, I spend a lot of time reading. I read year-round, but full-time in winter, and perhaps out of resentment, pretty much zero of the books I read are about plants. I favor biographies, memoirs, and history, but lately quarantine and politics have driven me to fiction. I really recommend it. Breaks from reality are more delightful and necessary than ever. Some gardeners, I hear, enjoy reading seed catalogs and garden books all winter while actively planning for next year. That sounds well and good. Romantic, even. But plants have brutally abandoned me, and therefore, they no longer exist. I’ve got tea, pajamas, and bitterness on my to do list, thank you very much. Ideally, a blizzard dumps three feet of snow on December 1st that stays until March, thus supporting my scheme of gardening-not-existing plus upping the cozy hibernation factor inside my house. Around February, I’ll quit pouting and think about starting seeds and starting the heat in my tiny greenhouse. It takes a while for me to forgive.
In addition to reading, I also am an accomplished nap taker. Some days, my girls and I go on sewing, crafting or puzzle benders. We play board games and walk the dogs. We watch tv and I don’t care (much) what “experts’ say about screen time. I occasionally rage-clean because it’s the only kind of housework I do, and brain-numbing tasks like laundry pile up until I can’t stand it anymore. I think about and sometimes apply for non-seasonal, full-time jobs and then realize I need my flexibility and time with my kids more than the rat race and the cost of child care. I brainstorm brilliant new business ideas and then talk myself out of them. I make ambitious lists of goals and things I’d like to accomplish today, this week, or next year. I lose the lists in my messy house, curse my ADHD, and make new lists. I write stuff to organize my brain. Sometimes I share the stuff in this blog. Sometimes I keep it to myself so all won’t know my true level of crazy.
I am still a gardener. Just not right now. It’s fine. I’m fine. Everything’s fine.