Springtime Blues

Gardening challenge

…, the mower broke down and the yard run away with me
I’ve taken to sittin’ and watchin’ it grow
And the rabbits are eatin’ like kings in the driveway
And I’ve just about found me no place to go
You’ve got to live and let live …

                         —–  Guy Clark


The older I grow, the closer I get to becoming Guy Clark.  It’s true I’ll never have his immense talent or his genial charisma, but in the important things, from his nerve-screeching Instant Coffee Blues to his languid  Shade of All Greens, my life seems to have parallelled his fine observation of the tiny defeats we endure as part of the human condition, whatever that is.

The mower broke down last year some time, mainly due to my own negligent stupidity and I didn’t bother to get it fixed, due to apathy.  As a result, the garden, or yard as Guy might call it, started to run away with me  but since it was the back-end of the year, it wasn’t all that noticeable at first.  Just a general scruffiness about everything.  Little weeds peeping out between the patio bricks.  Moss.  Plants I don’t remember putting there.  Plants I definitely did not put there.  Garden seats leaning dangerously sideways.  Wind-blown plastic flower-pots and the sad remains of a gazebo destroyed in the last storm.

That sort of thing.

Wild Garlic

I became a sort of Wordsworth of the Alliums as the wild garlic slowly, inexorably took over what I laughingly refer to as my lawn, so that eventually, today, I wandered lonely as a cloud in the bright Spring sunshine and surveyed the desolate landscape that is my garden.

I gritted my teeth like an action hero. It was just as well I hadn’t shaved for a few days and so it was that, as a trickle of sweat carved its way down my knotted brow, I hissed at the wild garlic It stops right here!  Enough, you host of tiny white pungent daffodil-impersonators.  This is where I make my final stand.

Was it for this that a thousand parties ran on into the small hours?  Was it for this that countless musicians stayed up all night drinking beer and singing songs around the glowing coal braziers?  Was it for this that crowds of a hundred and more swarmed to my home for significant life-events?

It was not! I replied with a scowl, as stirring martial music seemed to swell and I could almost hear the throbbing of chopper-blades just below the horizon.

Enough!  No more.  This garden shall return to its former glory.

Or to put it another way, I’ll cut the grass and pull most of the weeds.


2 thoughts on “Springtime Blues

  1. Thanks. Thought I’m the only one sitting on a rickety garden chair and looking at nature’s triumph after literally years of neglect (justified in my mind as, well, nature’s triumph), considering the fate of the broken mower and the perks of admiring interesting plants.

    Cowslips, protected and rare, are growing on my lawn, ok only one.
    And wild garlic in abundance. Which is not a bad thing. You cut the stems just short of blossoming and use them like chives or in a pesto with walnuts for pasta. Delish.

    There, making the best of laziness.

    I managed so far to free the pathway to my door, which the postwoman claimed to need a machete to get to the letterbox.

    But then, I was a city girl moving to the country side who planted tiny plants and just watched in wonderment how they grew, while back home in Berlin I was happy when my geraniums on the balcony just about survived.

    And who needs a suburban trimmed lawn anyway? It’s very bourgeois, innit?

  2. Thanks for that Bock it sent me on a Guy Clarke morning with my coffee which I haven’t done in a while. Here s a beautiful song from his last album. The background story involves Guy and Townes Van Zant on a recording/jam/bender which went on for a few days at Guy’s place in the 70’s. His wife Susannah came home furious to see them still at it and threatened to leave. One of the boys in his drunken wisdom thought it might be a good idea to take a Polaroid snap of her in her fury. Anyway Guy kept the pic on his studio wall and wrote this song about it after Susannah died in 2012, 40 years in to their marriage.


    “My Favorite Picture Of You”

    My favorite picture of you
    Is the one where you’re staring
    Straight into the lens

    It’s just a Polaroid shot
    Someone took on the spot
    No beginning, no end

    It’s just a moment in time
    You can’t have back
    You never left but your bags were packed
    Just in case

    My favorite picture of you
    Is bent and it’s faded
    And it’s pinned to my wall

    Oh and you were so angry
    It’s hard to believe
    We were lovers at all

    There’s a fire in your eyes
    You’ve got your heart on your sleeve
    A curse on your lips but all I can see
    Is beautiful

    My favorite picture of you
    Is the one where
    Your wings are showing

    Oh and your arms are crossed
    Your fists are clenched
    Not gone but going

    Oh a stand up angel
    Who won’t back down
    Nobody’s fool, nobody’s clown
    You were smarter than that

    My favorite picture of you
    Is the one where
    It hasn’t rained yet

    Oh and as I recall
    That came a winter squall
    And we got soaking wet

    A thousand words
    In the blink of an eye
    The camera loves you and so do I

    My favorite picture of you
    Is the one where you’re staring
    Straight into the lens

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