24 June 2013


New Mexico gardening is hard.

Which is not a surprise. It's dry. Hot. High altitude. The soil is sandy and rocky.

Things that can grow here must be hardy. Must need little water.

Hollyhocks do well. Roses. Succulents.


I try to look at gardening as a sort of haiku. A one-season riff. This is what I want to present this year. Each time it is redone - an edit.

But it feels more like a sprawling oral narrative. A 1001 Nights. Each time the death is reached, there is a rebirth. An attempt to go just once more. To get it right this time.

Without trying our garden is full of mint, sunflowers, hollyhocks, thyme. Our rose bush is covered with blooms. Like snow.

The things I planted did not fare well. The forget-me-nots didn't even sprout. The catnip came up and withered. The marigolds I bought at the farmer's market are burning, though I have managed to keep them blooming through the baking leaves.

I can only seem to grow aloe. The 6 plants I inherited 5 years ago have multiplied into 18 plants that I am in the process of potting to give away.

There is something in there about giving and getting. About the things passed from one to another.

A cultural inheritance. A personal one.

This garden that is growing without my help is not mine. But it is now. These aloe are not mine. But are.

This land, this place, the writing I do. They are all things that are and are not mine.

I hold them for a time. And then have to walk away from them.

For the last two weeks I've been without a computer. I wrote my last book review on paper and typed it into my phone to send to my editor.

To be away.

Returning to the computer. To my writing saved on it. Has felt odd. I always feel strange coming back to old work. It's like a room that is sealed off for years. Dusty, old-smelling. There is something of a time capsule feel about it.

And it never ceases to be jarring.

Who was I when I wrote these lines? Who am I now? Do I still think this way?

I am in the midst of a new draft of my novel. Of a huge edit of a large poetry project. And to be forced to walk away for 2 weeks has left me feeling a little lost in my own thoughts.

How to find that ground again. When it is almost accidental it was found the first time. This is the question. How does one take what has been given, make it over as your own, keep it going. Even when the person giving is a past self.

The last two weeks have made me feel like I have been wallowing in my own introspection a bit. I need to shake that off. So these posts will hopefully become less about myself and more about the world out there.

The one left for us to tend.

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