My garden wall is crumbling like a middle eastern government, like my resolve to post at least one blog per moon, like feta onto a candied walnut salad.
It started when I came home from a weekend away six years ago and walked into my back yard to find that the new neighbors had taken down the ornamental cherries that provided the privacy between us just above the retaining wall that separated our properties. She assured me that the new trees they planted were fast growers and we’d have our privacy back within a season. She was right. They grew fast. But so did their strong roots. Three years ago I noticed the crack in the corner wall, but only because of the huge spider who ran into it when I disturbed her with my garden trowel. Last year, the crack had widened about an inch and this spring rocks and concrete are falling onto my emerging echinacea, astragulus and monarda. It’s only a matter of time before we all fall down. Home ownership is an interesting adventure. Upkeep never ends and as soon as one repair job is complete, another surfaces seeking attention.
I am not looking forward to the huge job of replacing this wall! Just like the crumbling of a middle eastern government, it will be messy, expensive, time consuming and a bit dangerous. It will require the dismantling of the existing structure, the removal of the existing garden, finding places to move the perennials, clearing away the debris. Most likely it will mean a growing season sacrificed in that part of my garden. It will require selecting the new material, the building of a new retaining wall and then the creation of a new, raised garden bed. I am looking forward to that very last part, but not what must happen to get there. The control freak in me does not care for chaos and mess.
This is where my metaphoric thinking really serves me. Like when the frozen pipes burst the very first winter here and it took fifteen months until the restoration was complete. The floor had to be replaced several times before they got it right, and I couldn't help observe that the foundation of my life was changing completely. The thinking goes like this: The wall is crumbling and it must come down.What have I been holding back that is so strong it has been trying to break through and must now be freed? The perennials need to be moved. What is important enough to relocate and maintain? The debris needs to be cleared. What no longer has value? New materials need to be selected. What will serve who I am now? A replacement wall needs to be erected. What new structures do I need to put in place? Create a new raised garden bed. Won't that reward for having endured the ordeal be fun!
The whole thing is a lesson in impermanence. Nothing last forever. I get that. I am sure that whoever built that wall orignally, thought that concrete was forever. And although I wish the money I'll spend on this job was going toward my long desired pilgrimage to Eygpt instead, I find a secret delight in knowing that tree roots are just that strong.