I'm writing a new gardening book by Feb 1st. 40 short snapshot-esque chapters on the first years of my garden. Target length is 100 pages (a nice pocket book I hope). Below is one section of 15 I've written so far, and I'll likely post more over the coming weeks. I'd love your base, first, gut reaction on these pieces as they come along.
The book is tentatively titled Sleep, Creep, Leap: The First Three Years of a Newbie's Garden, and will be a mix of styles--humorous, lyrical, descriptive, narrative--most chapters only a few pages long. Some chapters will be posts taken directly from my blog, others, like the one below, are fresh off the press and quite raw.
No one stares. No one even looks over at the stoplight. I suppose that’s fine, I don’t want to make a scene. I’m just trying to get from point A to point B without losing too many leaves or side-swiping another car when I blindly change lanes.
The tallest tree I’ve had in my hatchback was an eight foot maple. The widest was about four feet, a weeping white birch 50% off at a big box store (it was too sophisticated for their usual clientele, I’m convinced, and thus its sale price).
Once a young man helping me asked if the tree would fit in my car. I laughed, scoffed, rolled my eyes and moaned a “duh.” But there is a trick to it, and sometimes it does help to have someone up front threading branches through the seats, past headrests, on to the dash, and out the window. I don’t like coming home to find even one small twig has been torn off.
The pot is the biggest problem, like trying to lift a bag of shifting sand to your chest. Over the years I figure I’ve lost a good yard of planting medium, soil, mulch, and compost to my trunk.
I drive home at or below speed limit, taking the side roads, trying to reduce wind drag as the maple, birch, or crabapple needles its way out the passenger window. Often I’m poked and prodded along the way, twigs piercing my arm, my cheek, leaves tickling my ear, and once, a preying mantis taking the tree-bridge over into my hair and almost causing an accident. But I gave her a good home.
Maybe there's no art to hatchback tree hauling that makes me special. But I see kids in the backseat of a Ford pull up to a truck and whoop and holler at the black lab in the cargo bed, excitedly waving and barking, the dog wagging its tail like a windshield wiper on overdrive. I wish someone would pull up next to me, look over, smile, maybe even wink. Yes, I’d see them say in their eyes, yes, you are a man after my own heart.