Shelter-In-Place

“Then there are those who plant. They endure storms and all the vicissitudes of the seasons, and they rarely rest.” Paul Coelho

Sitting at my makeshift desk in the dining room, I learn that the shelter-in-place order for Austin is a sure thing. I immediately remember the tomato plants in the back of my minivan.

There are only a few people at the community garden when I arrive. We uncharacteristically ignore each other, mindful of our uncertain covid-19 status.

I carry the tray of tomato plants, carrot seed packages tucked between the containers, along freshly wood-chipped paths separating the plots. The sun feels like summer, but the showy neon green of spring is everywhere.

Summer will have its turn soon enough.

My plot needs more work than I remember. It will take several hours rather than the thirty minutes I had planned. On second thought, I am thankful for the project.

I am not predisposed to sheltering-in-place.

In-place sounds impossible. I imagine pre-dawn escapes to the trail to slow my breathing.

My friend Terri says that an earnest gardening effort reflects a certain level of mental stability because of the enormous patience and delayed gratification required.

It’s always more sacrifice than expected at the onset.

She believes that a garden reminds us of life’s relentless forward momentum.

A practice of giving without guarantees.

I think about her words as I pull weeds, pour the orange oil and molasses mixture on fire ant mounds, and harvest the last of my red chard and kale to make room for the tomato plants.

I water the tomatoes carefully. It is stressful to be planted.

Be well world.

Grow.

12 thoughts on “Shelter-In-Place

  1. Gardening is real. A truth. Healing. It’s always a challenge, but nurturing just in the sitting and watching time go by–watching your babies come to life. My Grandma gardened until her mid 80’s….lived to be a hundred. She said, “A garden is like a baby.” Takes care and attention…things from the Heart. I Love You, Liddy. P.

  2. Hi Liddy,

    I read this a while ago, then forgot to reply. Once again you write with such clarity and calm!!! I don’t like sheltering in place either, but it beats dying… So I am at home, and looking at the snow-covered yard, wondering if spring will ever come!! I envy your early warmth, and the ability it gives you to dig in the dirt, the oldest and most pure form of meditation in my book. Nothing to do or see here, just dirt (and a million microbes that help us load up on serotonin…) I love the smell, the squishy feel of good dirt, the sense of peace while I am digging. So– may I request that you dig a little dirt for me??? All is well here, now home from a shortened vacation in Florida, and feeling safer than when we were there. Silly, I know, but true. Thank you for continuing to write, to share your perspective, it’s always so refreshing!!!! much love, kathy

    On Wed, Mar 25, 2020 at 2:50 AM Days in the Fifties wrote:

    > Daysinthefifties posted: ” “Then there are those who plant. They endure > storms and all the vicissitudes of the seasons, and they rarely rest.” Paul > Coelho Sitting at my makeshift desk in the dining room, I learn that the > shelter-in-place order for Austin is a sure thing. I ” >

    • Glad to read that you are home and sheltering-in-place. I am a non-essential worker and have not worked since last week. I’m having a challenging time concentrating on activities that require sitting, but ridiculously productive with anything that involves movement: cleaning, gardening, exercise, cooking, purging shit for every closet and room, tying up half-finished projects, and walking, so much walking. I see our kids come back to life with rest and downtime. Eli is home from A&M with his new puppy. Puppy energy is a good thing when sheltering-in-place. Lila and Georgia are getting along surprisingly well. Frankly, senior year, spring semester, does not matter that much academically, but the girls are sad about the other benchmarks like prom and graduation. Leo is still in California and will remain there for the time being. By now, we know that 2020 is not going to look like what we had planned. Acceptance is a tremendous freedom to create a new story. It’s scary too. Love to you and be well and see you on the other side.

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