I’ve learned a few things from my little 10×10 garden this year–I hate snails, you must pick yellow squashes the day you see them because the next day they are the size of Godzilla, etc. Perhaps the most important thing I learned is I probably shouldn’t cram in 7 tomato plants, three squash plants, an eggplant, lettuces, and two rows of beans next time.
With that in mind, I’ve been working on getting a flowerbed that runs alongside of the front lawn cleared out, so I can plant tomatoes and daylilies in it and use my 10×10 patch for lettuce and squash. (Not yellow squash, though.)
Of course, I use the term “flowerbed” loosely, because it contains about an even mix of dead snails, live snails, and vining groundcover. Thank goodness for gardening gloves. But, on the upside, I can think of poems about things rotting and the earth while I’m out there, avoiding the live snails.
“Fall Song,” by Mary Oliver
Another year gone, leaving everywhere
its rich spiced residues: vines, leaves,
the uneaten fruits crumbling damply
in the shadows, unmattering back
from the particular island
of this summer, this NOW, that now is nowhere
except underfoot, moldering
in that black subterranean castle
of unobservable mysteries - roots and sealed seeds
and the wanderings of water. This
I try to remember when time's measure
painfully chafes, for instance when autumn
flares out at the last, boisterous and like us longing
to stay - how everything lives, shifting
from one bright vision to another, forever
in these momentary pastures.
Another year gone, leaving everywhere,
a great snailio apocalypse,
and a snailio exodus,
the survivors huddling damply in the shadows,
driven out of their flowerbed.