So yesterday I got in the garden, really three raised planter beds atop toasty mulch-scape where front lawn used to be surrounded by tall leafy ficus hedges. It’s my 10x15 hippy princess fairyland farm, complete with a Tibetan prayer flag and rose-colored glass lantern hanging from spindly grey birch tree branches.
A shiny silver disco ball I got for the living room rave we hosted the Halloween before I got sober hangs beside the fading prayer flag. It reminds me not to identify too much with the costumes I wear or my real estate. Or maybe it just makes me smile. I’m a club kid at heart, from early nineties Manhattan, when it seemed like everyone was dying and those of us still living wanted to have a lot of Fun.
There’s a similar vibe at my new club, the kind of feeling people who survive something really bad have when they all get together and realize the worst has passed, perhaps. Not quite as buoyant as I felt the night of 9/11 out to dinner on the Upper West Side with my cousin and a group of random friends of his who wore dark blue and bright ties. Giuliani said go out so we went out. We ate and we drank. We were numb with our colleagues and friends and friends of friends and that guy from the gym and our ex’s and our spouses and almost ourselves probably being dead, all at once. But we were chatting, and spending, and living, and going.
My club now is a rectangular room off a seniors’ day care center somehow affiliated with a church where ten to forty of us get together every morning at 7:30am for an hour and share our so-called experience, strength, and hope with each other. There’s no bar, there’s no food, there’s no music, there’s unflattering fluorescent lighting, but the cover is low and the vibe is generally fantastic.
I can get a hit of how awesome it is to be alive in that room. How lucky I am to have this insane opportunity to breathe in and breathe out with this body and love and be loved. To grow and get better at growing and have a whole bunch of people tell me and show me how growth and joy and pain and surrender work. Amazing.
So I put on Rhianna yesterday to get the garden planting going, but pretty quickly it seemed like more of a Stevie Nicks kind of moment. Pulling old plants, breaking up hard earth, picking out what doesn’t belong, the weeds and the snails and the dead old leaves. Then unloading the plastic bags of chicken shit soil booster from the back of the PriusV, pouring them into the beds and mixing it around with shovels and ungloved hands.
Thirsty but not wanting to break from the task at hand, laying down the baby plant starts for three kinds of organic kale and two kinds of chard and broccoli rabe, which I don’t even like, arranging them by color and height for the perfect view out my living room window before morning meditation or coffee time. Hanging the painted clay handprint dangly beaded artwork thingy Ax made as the latest garden jewelry, checking its look from the window with him. Digging, planting, watering in the starts, checking that night and this morning for slumpishness, snails, and overall wellbeing, like someone who knows what she’s doing. This crop will be our best yet.