Lot 2

I have not done much work in my gar­den. I sup­pose my gar­den is real­ly not a gar­den, but more a yard, since it is an expanse of dirt. (I know what soil is and this is dirt.) Real­ly it is more of a lot, since it has been allot­ted to my fam­i­ly group. But when I work on it, I treat it like a gar­den; and there is the difference. 

How so, since I leave it dirt, since it has noth­ing to show but inher­it­ed hostas around the foun­da­tion? I think of it as a gar­den because weeds and weed­like things come up, and I treat them like weeds. Or I call them strays and invite them in to be looked at. 

I come out there with my dog to throw her toys around. I get bored with that soon, and I hunt around for what doesn’t belong. Ear­ly on, my wife and I have sprayed down the poi­son ivy, even though nei­ther of us seems to get rash­es from it. I’m sur­prised this treat­ment seems to be hold­ing so far. We also both­ered to get a reel mow­er and apply it to what (I must point out) is not a lawn. When we mowed the rest of what had come up, and thor­ough­ly raked what that left behind, the pic­ture got clear­er. Pic­ture is real­ly the wrong word, because if it was a pic­ture it would be noth­ing but dirt. The key thing seems to be to see the sur­face from every angle, and var­i­ous­ly accord­ing to dif­fer­ent mea­sures – a square inch, a square foot, square lot, so on. You look at each mea­sure with some pur­pose in mind, and the mea­sure stretch­es to fit the pur­pose. Doing all of this stretch­es the def­i­n­i­tion of pic­ture past the break­ing point, I think. When you are look­ing for lit­tle incur­sions, when you are weed­ing, or look­ing for things left behind, this is how you look. You can’t look in scenes, in broad strokes. Accord­ing­ly, you don’t make a pic­ture, you think in, I guess, sketches. 

Here’s what I find left behind. I find bits of latex paint. I find the labels from apples. I find a ver­be­na label that has out­lived its ver­be­na. I find pieces of foam, and char­ac­ter­less paper, and I find many, too many blue wash­ers with lit­tle screws through them. It is incon­ceiv­able that I have not found them all already, but here they come. 

I find threads, and threads, blue ones and red ones, grow­ing out of the dirt. My gar­den has Morgellons. 

My pow­ers of pat­tern recog­ni­tion get taxed; red threads, milk bot­tle rinds appear and dis­ap­pear in the dirt. They are hid­ing between pig­nosed nuts, and oak-leaf sprays, and bits that could want to be lawn but I won’t quite let them. Tiny blush-col­ored acorns that I imag­ine an enter­pris­ing chef putting in sal­ad. Also file under pink: a Poly­gon­um which is either pen­syl­van­icum (one n?) or per­si­caria. Should I wor­ry if it is per­si­caria? Is it good for the ani­mals? Box elders, and I’m sure the poi­son ivy again some­time soon. Reg­u­lar ivy come to vis­it from next door. 

I’m ram­bling. But I always ram­ble with­in sight of the house. 

(June 2016–March 2016)