Twas a beautiful morning to be in the garden. I picked my first to red tomatoes, brought home a luscious handful of kale to bake into chips this evening and a fragrant bouquet of
basil for pesto. I love pulling weeds, it’s so cathartic! And although I like looking around on a Sunday seeing early morning gardeners, typically women alone or in pairs working their little plot of land, I really like days like today when I’m the only one there. My thoughts are uninterrupted as I consider all the ways gardening serves as a metaphor, perhaps even an allegory, for life. I really liked being in the garden today because my plants are finally growing. I’ve put up a fence that successfully keeps the pesky varmits out.
The varmits, aka rabbits, were eating everything as quickly as I was planting it. Given the number of projects, conferences and presentations I had in the spring, I just didn’t have time to plant and re-plant so I was quite annoyed with the pests. Nancy Tolson’s suggestion of “Kill the Wabbit” by Elmer Fudd echoed in my head and I posted on the garden’s Facebook page about the surge in sales of rabbit meat. I gave up thoughts of my mother and grandmother,
those who put soil in my blood, and channeled my grandfather, the hunter who brought us ‘coon, pheasant and yes, rabbit for Thanksgiving meals. It was clearly a matter of me versus them. I wait all year for my own, delicious, organic produce that I can stand right there in the garden and munch on and that I am able to freeze or can and enjoy over the winter.I decided to build a fence.
Well, maybe not.
I get a text from my son saying he wants to talk. Essentially, he wanted to remind me that the rabbits (We’re talking plural now because those rascals multiply like, well rabbits. One could easily multiply into 100 by the end of the season.) were there first. He didn’t go so
far as to say I was invading their home, but he did suggest that the fence was perhaps not the best way to handle this.
Huh?? If the rabbits simply found some other sucker’s unprotected plot then, well, I’d protected my food source. Right?
The problem is my word this year is HARMONY. That fence creates disharmony, particularly because it sends the varmits to my neighbors plot and essentially because this is the rabbits home.
As I spoke to my son, I realized my approach with the garden was to build this barrier that protects my space and says ‘oh, well’ to all others, both rabbits and other gardeners. I realized this is my general modus operandi: to build barriers for protection, security or isolation. It’s just more visible with this rabbit proof fence.
I realized my best solution had to create harmony and while this sometimes might be a balance, it isn’t always that. Harmony isn’t always a win-win but it is about me realizing how small and insignificant I am in the grand scheme of things, that love needs to win every time. It’s finding my god in every movement, every decision and every thought.
Even with the daggone rabbits.
As near as I can figure, the best solution would be to overplant to feed the rabbits. Once my plants get beyond a certain size, the picky little varmits won’t eat them, and of course they don’t eat all vegetables, so I would have a fighting chance of growing produce in the garden. But, the fence is up. I installed it all by myself and if you’ve ever worked with chicken wire, you have to appreciate the work it took to unroll that fencing particularly as the roll got smaller and the fencing got tighter. See how I’m justifying by centering my own needs here? Disharmony.
I think disharmony bites you in the ass every time.
The thing with fences (besides the fact that they don’t make good neighbors) is that they become the perfect barrier to catch seeds. So, right there where that chicken wire meets
the ground is where Johnson grass, binder weed and dandelions dig in and grow up, almost as if they know how difficult they’d be to pull. This borderland is so metaphoric, isn’t it? (I think the weeds are, too.) It could be a space for beautiful harmony but fencing that creates a border exists as a clearly defined separation. The border fence only works for the power that installed it.
“Harmony” sounded like such and easy, gently word but it is truly a struggle for me this year and I guess that’s a good thing. No struggle, no friction: no growth.
Oh, these rabbits!