Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In the Garden

Chizuko started it all. Our patch of weeds out back was no match for the garden she was imagining. So, several long hours later--time spent in the sun, pulling weeds--our house now boasts a modest garden. Luckily, Chizuko also pulled me away from my transcribing (the boring part of fieldwork) for a couple of adventures. From the banks of the river that flows through the Seto and Noguchi sections of the village we pulled stones, smoothed by silted waters tumbling from the slopes of Ontake-san. Deep in cedar forests we dug past rotting leaves and other litter to pull dark soil, wet and fragrant from recent rains, that would bring nourishment to our garden.

At home, Chizuko and I spent the afternoon clearing the last of the weeds that clung stubbornly to the rocky soil. We placed the river stones in lines to demarcate our new garden, and also to create a small flower bed. Plants and flowers that have been suffering in small plastic pots for some time seemed happy to finally stretch as Chizuko and I pulled them free and placed them in fresh soil. A tomato plant; iris we dug from the roadside; a white flowering plant whose name I forget; and a small tree we brought home from a walk in the hills, all sit now, just beyond the tatami mats that line our living room floor. In a planter nearby, the small tips of green onions stand up in rows.

Still lots of work to go. . .but we're proud of our humble project. The greatest part of the experience for me has been watching Chizuko--a woman deathly afraid of all things creepy and crawly--get her hands dirty. . .with only the occasional scream of disgust. My childhood memories of pulling weeds in the family garden have always been dear to me, so I cherish making new ones with my wife.


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