Michaeline: Nothing to Say

Baby lemon balm plants with about six leaves each, peeking through the mulch

So, here’s a bonus nothing: I am a terrible gardener. Lemon balm, which is viewed by most as a pernicious weed, is something I need to baby with frequent mulching, and every year, I worry if it will come up again. I’m safe this year!! Hoorah! Unless we get a sudden frost, I think I’ll have enough for tea and insect repellent. Also, in further nothing news, I was afraid that my husband had killed my bee balm (Oswego tea) last year with a good application of herbicide. But, no . . . that stuff apparently LOVES herbicide! While mowing, my first hint was that lovely smell of crushed bee balm . . . and when I looked down, I saw clump after clump of beautiful, healthy, 15 cm tall bee balm! It’s taken over almost a third of the back yard, which is wonderful news for me, because then I won’t have to mow it — just around the lovely little clumps. Unless my husband applies another dose of herbicide . . . but if it’s mowed, he won’t be tempted. Good lord, give me the ankles to keep this mowing up and save my beautiful bee balm! (E.M Duskova)

I haven’t got anything to say this week, so I thought I’d spin a little bit of nothing out into a few paragraphs. Frequent readers of the blog may know that I left my job at the end of March. I wallowed most of April, and in May, I started to get stuff done – but all the wrong stuff.

I’ve decided I like gardening again, and I want to have flowers and a relatively kempt lawn this summer – there are several ceremonies attending my father-in-law’s death this year, and the next one coming up is the 100th Day on July 5, and the first Obon in August. (I’ve written about ghosts and Obon before. But more of the nitty gritty about dead relatives returning during the Obon season can be found on Wikipedia.) Coronavirus concerns will mean we have fewer guests than we might have had, but I’m sure we’ll still have guests.

And they have appreciated the flowers I’ve bought and arranged for the first 49 days of weekly ceremonies. To tell the truth, it’s been a comfort for me, too. My father-in-law was a man of few words, but he showed his love for his family and his community through doing things, and doing them right. I could sit in front of the family altar and tell him how much I appreciated him, but it just seems right to let the flowers do the talking. I hope he would have liked them.

So, I just completed the first lawn mow of the season yesterday. It took four days and a lot of ice on my ankles and muscle recovery meditations, but I survived it. Barely. I hope that now it’s done, it’ll be my daily 30 minutes of exercise and also thinking time for my writing. But if we get several days of rain . . . I’ll be back to mowing knee-high grass for hours and hours again.

I can’t remember which book I read where a man talked about how physical labor drove all the dreams and imagination out of his head. I want to say Thoreau, but that doesn’t sound like a Thoreau sort of thing to say. Quite the reverse, if I remember my Thoreau. (It’s entirely possible that I’ve made up a False Thoreau in my head, based on a few facts like his mom did his laundry while he was playing survivalist on Walden Pond.)

I’ve forgotten how to Google. I can’t find the quote anywhere, but I did find a blog that said Thoreau wrote about working his bean field in the morning so he could have the afternoons free. It seems like Google may be sending me messages, or at least, my subconscious is reading messages into the random Google.

Small mums, carnation buds and a lily leaf in a ceramic flower-shaped dish; background New York City in 3D, Hamilton, Oriental Carpet book

Waste not, want not. After I finished arranging flowers for my FIL’s 49th day (the day we moved his cremains from the house to the temple for a permanent rest), I had a lot of little bits and pieces left over. This is what I did with some of them. (E.M. Duskova)

Anyway, this has been my May so far: gardening, planting, mowing, pets, flower arranging, and sleeping, sleeping, sleeping. I can put an arbitrary, artificial limit on myself – I can say I have eight more days to get my garden to a “good enough” stage, and then I must turn my mind towards earning my keep.

So, there’s a blog about nothing. Here, enjoy some of the flowers I arranged. Do you have fistfuls of nothing, too? Or is your Quara busier than you imagined it would be?

4 thoughts on “Michaeline: Nothing to Say

  1. I tried to Google your Thoreau (?) quote but found only a page of quotes praising labor.

    Including this one: “We are closer to the ants than to the butterflies. Very few people can endure much leisure.” Gerald Brennan

    I love the way Japanese culture allows people time to mourn and celebrates people who have passed. In America there seems to be an expectation that by the time the funeral is over you should be moving on without a backwards glance.

    • Oh, I’m glad you found it chewy! It seems like I’m pretty much only chewing these days. Gardening reminds me of writing to a great extent. But I feel fewer muscle aches when I’m writing!

  2. Pingback: Michaeline: Obon and Japanese Ghosts – Eight Ladies Writing

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