My yard is awful.
No, it isn’t awful like some peoples’ kids in the local Walmart. It isn’t awful in the way of the taste and texture of bananas when they get in my mouth (you may love bananas but I am biologically anti-banana).
No, it is awful because the dirt isn’t really dirt. It is more of a rocky, concrete-like clay that doesn’t want anything to grow. It just chokes the life out of flowers, grass and trees.
I’ve learned that getting a tree to survive in this yard is by planting it in an extra large hole and filling the hole with what once was my yard with new and better yard (topsoil from somewhere else).
I considered digging up the whole yard and replacing it. That isn’t really feasible. Weather conditions here are sure to wash it away just before it got settled in and began to look like an un-awful yard.
So, this year, my wife wants tomatoes and I want to grow some peppers. I guess that together, my wife and I are like salsa!
Well, anyway, my yard would just laugh at my efforts to plant a garden (it is a little disturbing to actually picture a laughing yard).
I decided (and by I, I mean my wife) that I would build a raised garden bed to sit on top of the foul, crusty, hard ground in my yard.
I bought some lumber, constructed some heavy duty wooden framing, went down to the local garden center and got a truckload of the nicest-looking dirt money can buy.
I knew I had become an adult the first time I looked at a load of dirt and admired it.
I shoveled all that dirt into the frame I had built and looky there! I have great soil in a small portion of my yard.
I have a fellow blogger that is just plain tired of all the gardening analogies people make but I am so sorry, here I go anyway.
I was my yard. Not even weeds wanted to grow in me. When the storms came, I just became a slimy, slippery mess and the water didn’t soak down inside me, it just ran off to somewhere else that it could settle in.
I was dry and barren. If it weren’t for the rocks, I’d have had no features at all.
I’m kind of a crusty old guy. Sometimes, I’m sure people look at me and see someone that is well on their way to becoming the crabby old man in the neighborhood.
There’s a lot about me that is just me. I’m not getting the full lawn makeover any time soon. I used to believe that because of that, I was doomed to be forever unproductive.
Hi! My name is Death Valley.
But after I started recovery a few years ago, I learned that if I wanted to plant something small, I had to dig a big spot to put it and fill that spot with something different.
It is hard to become someone that isn’t you overnight. But, I can become someone better by planting one flower or tree at a time.
So, I finally was able to step back and see more than an arid desert burning beneath a scorching sun. After a while, there was a lot more to me than there used to be.
I’m still me. I’m not perfect. I’ve got a long, long way to go. But, I have gone from something just plain butt ugly to something butt ugly with some beauty here and there.
Getting that first thing to grow, that first leaf to bud out and that first bloom to open up and meet the morning dew showed me that I can do it again and again and again.
I used to despise who I was. I wanted to love myself but I just couldn’t do it because what seemed to grow so effortlessly in others just wilted and died inside of me.
But I am not building anyone else’s garden. I am building my own and it is uniquely me. It is an oasis where there once was nothing.
It is my oasis. I can love it now (most of the time).
It is going to take some back-breaking work from time to time. That’s how it is in people like me. I’m learning to love it. There’s something about finishing up that preparation, planting the tiny new thoughts in my heart and letting the sweat cool my skin as I look at the new beginnings in another barren part of my soul.
I’m looking forward to more than just flowers and trees this summer. I’m ready for tomatoes and peppers.