A little over three years ago my wife and I decided that we had to leave the Front Range of Colorado and the home we'd lived in for a quarter century. The reasons for this don't belong in the blog but suffice to say it was unavoidable. The word "uproot" has become a dead metaphor but if you try hard to revisit the vehicle as a real sensory experience—carefully imagine the experience of taking a thriving, well established plant in your hands and hacking it out of the earth—it conveys something of the experience.
The process wasn't immediate. It took two years to finish what we'd started in Colorado, gather our resources, scout out a new place, say our goodbyes, cut our ties. But at the time we made the decision, perspective changed immediately and significantly in my mind, and as I found out, in my imagination. I instantly had a different relationship to the cycle of planting and growing things and so, by extension, in writing about that experience. I knew my attention would be drawn largely to the work of relocating, the first step being dislocating.
In the end, it was the leaving of dear friends that was most wrenching, or at least I thought so as we drove away in July 2016 and to points northwest on our adventure to a new home on the coast of Oregon. Later, I would come to realize that the very best of those friends remain with me because they are, truly, the best of friends. How sweet is that? I may have lost their regular companionship and the comfort and good cheer that brings but I have not lost them.
What I did lose was my garden.
In all likelihood, I'll never see it again; I'm not the type to haunt old neighborhoods or pine for the past. The young couple that bought our home, and therefore the garden, are now its stewards and I like the thought of them enjoying all it has to offer. That said, it's been a long process to accept that I'll never pass a quiet morning tucked into its curtains of greenery, scenting its varied blossoms, harvesting the heavy hanging fruit. I'll never dig my hands into the incredibly rich loam I built up in the beds over more than two decades. I won't commune again with the live things I planted with such care, the perennials that include a craggy wild thyme plant I seeded in 1992 and a sprawling silver lace vine heavy on thick aspen branches I wove and lashed into a grand arbor. All this and more is gone for me, the kind of loss one has to absorb slowly, mindfully, and with an effort to appreciate that it ever existed at all.
So when we knew we were going to leave, I anticipated all that would come and so closed down this blog, or more correctly, suspended it. While some of its entries range broadly to poetry, language, history, philosophy, culinary arts, the fact remains that these things are rooted (intentional metaphor here) in gardens. At least they are for me. Losing the garden meant I needed to uproot the blog and initiate its dormancy.
Roll forward several years and I find myself with my hands in the dirt again. It's a much wetter soil, and the air smells like rain and forest floor and mushrooms and spruce tips. Earth is earth, though, and the joy of working it is precisely the same as it ever was, even with different spices in the air. This dawned on me recently as I was planting an apple tree on the grounds of our new home. It was a flavor of happiness I hadn't felt in a while and I was struck by a familiar impulse to write about it all.
So WordGarden is once again planted and growing. If you haven't visited this blog before, welcome. Feel free to scroll back through past postings for a look at what was my garden, and the garden of ideas that were a kind of fruit on the vine. If you've been here before, welcome back. This beginning again may proceed gradually, as does any garden dropping into the first weeks of the winter season, but check in for future posts that will once again range across concepts of poetry and ideas, good food, and growing things.