My red-handled garden loppers are a girl’s best friend despite the faded finish on one side and a desperate need for sharpening. I can say this with all the honesty of a dental hygienist whose working time is spent with tiny instruments named Montana Jack, Columbia, Gracey, and MX23. With all their intricate usefulness, I vote for garden loppers any day … well, any of the 90 possible days of fair weather.
Today it all started in a perennial bed overgrown with grass taller than the flowers. There I saw one more of those pesky cottonwood shoots popping up fifty feet from its mother tree. Ugh!
“Great,” I said to myself. “I thought I got all of those a few weeks ago.” I’ve hired a neighbor boy for yard help and fully intended to let him pull the grass, but it’s like that children’s picture book, When You Give a Mouse a Cookie. I couldn’t just lop off that sucker at the root, I had to pull the grass around it right then and there, careful not to disturb a blooming salvia and those show-stopping heliopsis starting to bud. No blossoms should be lost in this hyphenated Wyoming growing season.
I started pulling grass, chiding myself that summer is almost half gone and this should have been done weeks ago. I couldn’t believe I’d let this thigh-high usurper go to seed again. We’d been so busy using our helper’s brawn for dirt hauling into our new raised veggie beds, that grass was a low priority.
After just a few handfuls, I was surprised at how easy the weeding seemed. I noticed grassy seed heads were longer than my fingers, like beautiful dangling white fireworks dropping from the sky. Maybe pyrotechnic designs were actually inspired by nature as so much art is. My enthusiasm grew by the minute. I kept pulling and found some poor wimpy yellowing lilies needing sunlight and TLC. “Good for you little lilies – wanting to live. I’ll support that!”
I kept on going, aware of the quiet mastery of nature as a banging clanging garbage truck’s air brakes hissed and puffed while dumpsters were lifted, shaken and dropped to the ground. Then, I heard the unexpected happy-go-lucky whistling of a man. Was it the truck driver or a neighbor going to his car? I was suddenly taken back to my childhood as my Dad has always been a whistler. He whistled in his truck, working outside, and hiking in the mountains. And yes, I have a whistling coworker too! What a joyful thing to do. What would the world be like if more people whistled a happy tune?
Sirens whined and a firetruck roared by as I discovered a hidden pot nestled under a mess of wayward grapes, and surrounded by grass. Another forgotten gem. Inside a delicate perennial struggled through dead debris of last fall. Well, the grapes were repositioned and will be clipped soon if they can’t mind their manners. Go for it feathery perennial that I’ve forgotten the name of!
Just as the sirens faded, I discovered a sand cherry the birds had planted. How did I miss that last year with its multiple trunks over a yard high? I guess Mr. Cherry thought he was home free, hiding in the corner by a decorative arbor, under grape leaves bigger than my face. By now I had to dig through piles of grass strewn on the sidewalk to even find the red-handled loppers.
I climbed into the bed, one foot on the railroad tie terrace, the other on the sidewalk, grunting and groaning to cut that cherry out. Just then the sprinkler in zone one started and I knew my unplanned treasure hunt was over. I ran for the wheelbarrow, loading it to overflowing with all my morning pickings and cuttings, then I quickly leveled two cattywampus pots and backed away to admire my special garden, knowing I honestly have little to do with the glory of nature. My contribution of time and sweat is but a privileged tuition to understanding a speck more of God’s wonders and my place in creation.
Job 12:8-10 “Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee … Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.”