Work has, for the most part been a source of great stress for me over the last decade. At first it was the work itself. Now I enjoy the work and just want to keep doing it. That has proven somewhat difficult.
There aren’t so many jobs for professional plant biologists though if I’d willingly relocate it would probably be easier. But I won’t. When the boss came down to Texas and unwisely asked me to follow her back north she was moving home. I didn’t have one before getting here, but I find this place fits me pretty well.
Usually the word “terroir” is applied to fancy food, but I think it’s just as applicable to people. This place has good terroir. For those of us who sink roots into a place and don’t just treat it as an interchangeable resting spot, the geography, agriculture and climate shape us. Perhaps this was more true before cable television and the automobile, but for many of us it’s still true.
My children will come from here and that is good.
But my search for long term employment has been a stressful and fruitless one thus far. I should heed the advice of Dr. Sarvis from Abbey’s the Monkey Wrench Gang, “When the situation is hopeless, there's nothing to worry about.” Worrying, like my pervasive guilt, does little good. This doesn’t stop me from doing it.
What does help is a walk in my bit of “wildness.”
When I returned from work this Wednesday I felt low. I parked the bike and headed out to the garden to check on the plants. As with most years some things have failed to thrive.I didn't protect my peas from avian pests. They look awful. If Mendel had faced peas like these he would have died an unknown monk. Beyond the peas, corn has grown halfway to my knee. The potato plants tower over the neighboring lettuce and the garlic scapes have been outstanding. For the first year in a long time my onions look sturdy and healthy long before midsummer’s night when they begin bulbing. Oddly, few of the usual suspects have bothered the brassicas this year; my cabbage and broccoli have few holes and look to be producing a bumper crop. I can’t even find potato beetles.
A neighbor stopped by to fill some time and I unloaded a couple of extra heads of lettuce. I stuffed my face with spinach. Really I find few other things as satisfying as pushing succulent leaves of spinach into my maw and imagining I’m a brontosaurus.
Unlike any other spot in my yard, house, or town this garden is my place. It's not mine any more than it belongs to the pea-loving birds, but when I stepped out of the gate to walk back to the house I was humming and didn’t feel guilty or worried.
I stepped inside and the old cat had taken a huge crap in the middle of the floor. Thanks buddy.