Kitchen Garden

Sunday Afternoon Walk

Pac Choi.

Around 1 p.m. I finished in the garden and took a walk on the state park trail. The wind had picked up. While there was plenty of remaining work in the garden, onions were in and other plots tended, I was ready to break the tension from wondering how I would fit everything in the ground this year.

The trail held little traffic: a couple of joggers and a group of young adults out sight-seeing. Spring has arrived with greys and brown of winter yielding to green, yellow and purple. There has been human activity in the park, due mostly to cleanup of the 2020 derecho and the recent prairie burn. The margins between the trail and housing developments get thinner each year. The breeze helped me forget.

Mostly I felt the rush of air on my face as I walked my prescribed route. Strong wind is a blessing and a curse. Yesterday it was a stress-reliever.

Under the row cover everything looked good. I inspected and weeded, then picked some Pac Choi for a stir fry this week, and enough lettuce and spinach to make a small salad. Dinner was the salad with organic rotini and sauce leftover from Friday’s pizza-making. I’m ready for my spouse to return home.

As I read the news after dinner, a longing for better times arrived. When I graduated high school it felt like the strictures of society were loosening. There was hope for better days for our country and our lives in it. No more. Republicans never liked the changes of the 1960s and ’70s. Since Ronald Reagan was elected president they have been rolling back the liberties we gained. The repression pushes down on everything.

They say longing and loss brings people together yet I don’t know about that today. Yesterday I wrote a friend, “I think things changed dramatically during the pandemic. Not only did we break all our good habits, I don’t see enthusiasm for just about anything in real life. People simply want to get by in their own world and leave the politics and pandemic out of it.” What good is it to bring together yet another isolated small group when the tide of conservatism threatens everything we have come to know?

I used the garden hose for the first time this season. It is old. I need to get a new one. The mended joints came loose while it was in storage. They leaked as it filled with water pressure. The nozzle is kaput as well. This morning I’ll take wrenches and a screwdriver to repair the joints again. There are a couple of old nozzles in the garage to use if needed. I don’t like them as well yet one of them will serve. Despite the leaks, the garden got watered and will until I replace the hose. That is, if I do.

So it goes on a spring day in Big Grove Township.

2 replies on “Sunday Afternoon Walk”

As I read and got to your “Longing for better days…” paragraph, I said to myself “Yes, that’s how I feel too.” I then I did a little inventory. I’m just a bit older, but here’s what I recalled: De Jure Jim Crow was just ended, but all kinds of pervasive in-practice segregation the norm. Women were generally not considered seriously outside of defined roles. The want ads still had jobs for men and women like they were restroom signs. We were in a no-win war that most every male I knew was in danger of having to be conscripted to fight. Blue collar wages seemed pretty good to me then, but pink collar wages didn’t. Environmental and safety regulations weren’t even a thing yet. I could go on. But the music was pretty good, and rent was cheap.

And then I thought again, and figured out why I thought I agreed with you. Because, except for the draft, you and I wonder what else that has been gained can be rolled back.

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I guess I wasn’t worried about the draft. The year I was eligible, my lottery number was 128. They called through 125. The fear of the unknowns of military service were palpable among my cohort. After the evacuation of Saigon I enlisted in the infantry feeling someone had to straighten that stuff out. Not sure how much I helped. Thanks for reading Frank.


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