Don’t throw in the trowel

I’m sure one day I’ll be shipped off to the funny farm and it’s only a matter of time now.

I’m sure one day I’ll be shipped off to the funny farm and it’s only a matter of time now.

It’s been 15 years of chipping away at this hillside acreage with virtually no end in sight of the to-do list.  It keeps expanding, like the universe, but rather than downsizing or just throwing in the trowel altogether, I just keep right on making it bigger and bigger, to the point where it’s now totally out of control.

Am I driven by unseen forces, had an odd unfinished past life, have a defective gene or just possess a bird- brain?  Is it passion, pride or pure poppycock?

I am a glutton for punishment, and I keep subjecting this poor old body to yet more insults and injuries – a certifiable mental disorder securing me a spot on the sofa at the shrink’s office.

For example, I shovel so much soil and sand that my shoulders are screaming at me, lug enough rocks to leave me limp and lacerated and my knees are so knackered from kneeling that I can barely straighten them.   And that’s not all!

I’ve been bitten by nasty spiders, had blood siphoned off out it by voracious mosquitoes and been swarmed by ticked-off ants after squatting on their nest.

I’ve endured cuts, whacks, blisters, pulled muscles, twisted ankles and headers down the bank.   Slivers and thorns have been mined out of tender flesh, eyes deeply probed to extract branch bits and bugs, and heels and hands suffering super-sore splits.

Fingers have been squashed and pinched, rocks have been dropped on toes and the face soundly smacked by standing on a rake.   It’s been exposed and assaulted by all weather conditions, enduring sunburns, frozen extremities and soakings to the bone.  I’ve been so bent and busted by the end of the work day, that I can barely stand up to make a meal and so bleary-eyed from fatigue I’ve fallen asleep mid-sentence whilst reading a bedtime story.

Am I not a carrot short of a full bunch to keep ruining myself like this?

My mom warns me about the risks of permanent wear and tear, but I ignore it. My sis shows me stretches, but I don’t do them.  A massage therapist insisted I must walk before I work – which I do, but only because our dog demands it.   And now my surgeon scolds me about not using a hat and sunscreen, but I still forget them.  I buy books, but never read them; take courses, but rarely adhere to them and stare blankly into the faces of those seasoned gardeners who offer me sage advice.  If it’s all guts and no glory, then why do I keep doing this?

My mind plays like a record in a juke box that’s skipping on the part that goes: “I gotta, I gotta, I gotta”, and that blasted clock keeps clanging loudly in my head going tick-tock, tick-tock, like the sound of the bad old croc in Peter Pan.

I run around the yard like a chicken with my head cut off and there are times that my workload is so overwhelming that I just stand in one spot – paralyzed – not sure whether to weed or wind my watch.  I no sooner build one wall, only to watch another one crumble.  I dig in a living plant, only to watch another die.  I know I’ve bitten off more than I can chew, yet I keep loading up my plate higher and deeper, solidly confirming that I’m a few grapes short of a cluster.

I blow money on garden stuff, then never use it, and spring for tools, only to lose them.  I have a swing, but never sit in it, a hammock, but never lounge in it.  I plant a food garden, but hardly eat out of it.  I stick a plant in the ground, but don’t water it.   My fashion style is thrift store garden grunge and I’m so dirty some times that it looks as though I’ve had a play date with a pack of piglets.

I flood more motors than I start, I’ve had enough dirt in the car that it sprouted a weed and spiders have weaved their webs along the windows.  Am I not a brick short of a full load to still find some sort of satisfaction out of what I do?

I’m often disillusioned and defeated, limpy and gimpy, dusty and dirty, harried and hurt, frazzled and fatigued, broken and bandaged and sunburned and sore – and yet I still find some warped pleasure in all of this.

Are there any other gardeners that care to join me in the lineup to pass through those twisted gates of the funny farm?

I know you’re out there……