A benevolent garden.
Whether by accident or design, it’s hard to recall which, I live in a rural location. It might, on reflection, be a bit of both. The isolation minimises the possibility of encountering people, which is of great comfort to my socially anxious side, while I’m still just about close enough to civilisation to enjoy an internet connection, even if it is a little Heath Robinson in reliability and appearance.
A malevolent garden.
I grew up in the countryside, so I wasn’t completely taken aback when I moved into my new rural abode a few years ago and found a large area to the rear of the property that I was supposedly responsible for maintaining. In my limited experience, gardens were for barbecues, relaxed afternoon drinking, ill-advised forays into amateur sport and dog poo. They were passive and existed simply to provide a functional yet attractive backdrop to their owner’s outdoor whims.
What a fool I was. Within seconds of my arrival, and totally unbeknownst to me, the garden had sensed a dilettante in it’s midst. It watched me cavort about on the lush green lawn with my dogs, tolerated my tiresome and largely unsuccessful attempts to erect a lounger on it’s plush, deeply green grass and said nothing as I and my nefarious associates necked gallons of white wine before setting fire to a selection of vegetarian foodstuffs on the patio under the grown-up auspices of the word ‘barbecue’.
It had simply waited, knowing that summer, in all it’s blooming, exploitable glory, would have to come to an end.
As the nights drew in and the soft autumn breeze began to model a new and chilly edge, leaves began to fall. And fall. And fall. And purposefully disentangle themselves from the security of their moorings to suicidally hurl themselves all over everything. There were billions of them. Big ones, little ones, brown ones, red ones, you name it, every single flat or slightly graded surface in my garden was festooned with the damn things.
I’d never given much thought to leaves before. As I child I’d enjoyed feeling the crunch under my feet and hurling myself into piles of them, but they were someone else’s piles, I thought, as I stared miserably at the mushy, stubborn substance om my windscreen, having realised to my cost that this was one of those situations where simply spraying windscreen washer fluid at a problem was, at best, ineffective.
I’d never given much thought to talcum powder before either, but I certainly would have done if I had woken up one morning and found my house and garden covered in the stuff.
I was going to have to do something. But what? Buy a rake? One of those leaf blower affairs? Was I going to become one of those smug, self-satisfied people who leaps out of bed on a Saturday morning and into a freshly creosoted wooden shed filled with all manner of complex motorised devices I didn’t know how to use? Were gardening gloves the answer?
What I didn’t know, couldn’t know, is that leaves were only the beginning. A tender flirtation, if you will. In truth, the garden had spotted my ineptitude and was preparing an armoury of weapons so ruthless in design and effect that I would be complying with it’s every whim by the following July.
I should have moved house.
NEXT TIME: The Battle Of Stalin-garden