Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

May 28, 2006

A New Garden

Finally got back home day before yesterdy. A part of me didn't come back, though, the part of me that yearns to stay north where there are so many trees and so much rain that the oxygen seeps into people's brains and makes them kinder, somehow. Okay, maybe I'm just imagining that.

In the coming days and weeks I'll share more photos of my trip, but for now we have to settle back in, unpack, and catch up with all the stuff that slips and slides when you're gone and it goes unattended. You know, bills, housework, pending projects, errands, ad infinitum. With luck tomorrow I'll get back to visiting my wonderful blog pals--Rhonda, Mia, Kim Kim, Mom Seeking Peace, Heatherrainbow, and the rest of you who give me solace and inspiration every day.

Yesterday and today R and I cut and hauled concrete. In the process of hooking up to the sewer, we had to locate the "septic tank" (actually a big hole with an input and outlet that's been in the process of getting clogged for sixty some years, which no living person knew was actually a cesspool--yikes). In order to see what was beneath the cover, over the past weeks and months, we had to cut through five inches of concrete that the former owners had built a koi pond over, along with paving stones and a jacuzzi, tiki lights, jungle plants and the whole shebang for orchestrating huge zydeco parties. That's when they put out a sandwich board sign along the street in front of the house and invited the whole world to drop in.

Needless to say, R and I are rather the quiet types, and we didn't need the Tahitian beach scene. So we donated the koi to a local botanical garden, tore out about three tons of overgrown plants, cut the concrete (what a humongous job that is), hauled it ton by ton in the back of our pickup truck to county recycling, and finally got down to soil.

Now me, I say the soil can finally breathe and become fertile again after sixty years. I try not to think that the garden is going in where all the effluvia went, and when I do, I tell myself that they use human excrement for fertilizer in other countries. So, we'll have a nice organic garden where the Party Scene used to take precedence.

While we cut, dug, groaned, sweated, and ached, I got to thinking, as the concrete came out piece by piece and got stacked ready for hauling, that this effort of ours seems symbolic of a larger impending shift in human consciousness. Don't get me wrong. I'm always ready to say we might not make it as a species, given the odds that face us right now. But the concrete symbolized the old guard, the linear, the rigid institutions, the petroleum economy, the anal, hardcore cruelty that's been killing our souls for so long. The new garden represents (to me) a breaking up of those paradigms, and the hint of new possibilities of things like being kind, helping each other, being accepted for who and what we are instead of always trying to be something we aren't, losing the plastic, the phoney, often hopelessly lost from ourselves and each other (and being an adoptee is really over the top of all of this, right?), open source code and liberated Internet, gift economies, (see more on gift economies here , here , and here, or do a websearch--this subject compels me), among other things.

I've been reading Anne Lamott's book Plan B and realizing we don't have to be perfect. One of my favorite lines from this book is "laughter is carbonated holiness." Although I'm not a Christian, I get a lot from her work because she makes me feel less psychotic by her honesty. In this way she is one of my mentors. She gets me through some of the times when I think I'm going to lose it altogether, even though I know she wasn't adopted.


Blogger Kippa Herring said...

I just got Anne Lamott's "Blue Shoe" ( they didn't have "Rosie") from the library. I'm looking forward to reading it, but am afraid her sensibilities are so exquisite I will feel coarse by comparison.
I love gardens. Just hate gardening.
What I need is an eighteenth century English estate, landscaped by Capability Brown.
Good to have you blogging again.

Blogger Marie Jarrell said...

Thanks for dropping by, Kippa. I wouldn't say Lamott's sensibilities are all that exquisite; more like accurately portray the human condition. At any rate, you'll be so caught up in her easy style of writing that you probably won't feel anything but moved. At least that's how she affects me. You made me laugh with your line on gardening. And 'scuse my ignorance, but who's Capability Brown?

Blogger Kippa Herring said...

"Thanks for dropping by." Don't thank me. My pleasure entirely. And I really mean that.

Anne Lammot's sensibilities strike me as exquisite because her work demonstrates such an extraordinary degree of perceptual acuity - she's almost painfully acute. Underlying the sweetness and wit runs a vein of suffering - I guess you could say that's the human condition :-)

'Capability' Brown was an !8th century English landscape gardener who'd size up a view and comment that it had 'capabilites' for transformation. He specialized in creating 'natural' looking landscapes for an aristocracy infatuated with the 'sublime'.
"Such, however, was the effect of his genius that when he was the happiest man, he will be least remembered; so closely did he copy nature that his works will be mistaken".

Blogger cloudscome said...

I love Anne Lamont too. I haven't read Plan B yet but it is on my list for this summer. She makes me laugh out loud and cry at the same time.


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