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Screaming in the garden

I try to garden.  With the best intentions, I get decked out in full gardening regalia: straw hat, oversized sunglasses, linen apron and while gently swinging my garden basket, I serenely traipse into the garden.  But inevitably, within fifteen minutes or so, the bucolic scene dissolves into screams. I’m not good with surprises and I’m not good with creatures.  Particularly insects. Particularly things with more than four legs. I hate spiders. I don’t understand why we have to live in a world where they exist. I technically understand their purpose, but I just can’t deal with it.  Why do they have to live in such beautiful places? Hiding out within the aromatic petals of a flame coloured rose or swaying in the sparkling lace of a dewy cobweb of their own evil creation? It’s not right.

And it’s not just the spiders. Yesterday, when I moved a flagstone to plant some astilbe, I encountered a toad submerged in a bath of mud, mud-hued itself, with giant glazed eyes angrily staring back at me. The unexpected shock of seeing it there caused a hail of bullet-style screams, only this time, I knew that I couldn’t swat it away, so I got my husband involved.  He patiently told me to put the roof back on his house without hurting it and find another spot for the astilbe.

And no time of day is safe in the garden from my screams.  There are foxes at dawn and bats in the evening.  One bat the size of Dracula, tried to do away with me last month as it swooped and flapped at me with supernatural abilities from every direction, all at once. 

I’ll never get over it.

I feel bad for my neighbours, or anyone in the vicinity who has to listen to my gardening.  I would give it up for the peace of the neighbourhood, but the intrinsic beauty of the garden keeps luring me back.  So, until I get slapped with a disturbing the peace ordinance, I’ll continue gardening with the following quote in mind.

“The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.”

Ernest Hemingway

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