The Green Wheelbarrow (March 3 Garden Project)
Dateline: April 8, 2010, in an Albany Park Alley
Wherein I did purchase and declare victory over a large pile of dirt.
Well, compost, really, but what’s the difference when it’s a large pile (did I mention that?) and it’s blocking the alley?
After much shoveling and wheelbarrowing, it is now in the garage in a neat pile, looking a little like I buried someone there. Someone very tall. Frankenstein, maybe. But of course, as inert (and heavy, did I mention that?) as this pile of compost is, it is truly alive with nutrients and minerals and all kinds of healthy-soil-stuff that will feed us this year.
Speaking of wheelbarrows. Have you read this famous poem by William Carlos Williams?
The Red Wheelbarrow
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
It was raining a little today. Spitting snow at times, actually. And the chickens were very nearby, clucking away in their brown and blackness. No white chickens here. And I did mightily depend on a little green wheelbarrow. The thing is, this poem sounds so…gentle, so bucolic, so peaceful. You know, pretty as a picture. I did very much depend on my little wheelbarrow today. But we did not have a peaceful day as this lovely little poem might suggest. No, it was more of a grunting, work-horse kind of day.
As the president of a condo association, one of my main platforms has been to insist on a snow removal service. I don’t shovel. Hurts my back, and frankly, my all-wheel-drive car plows through anything so I really don’t value a cleared parking space. But here I was shoveling today. Two cubic yards of dirt in the alley is a very immediate and pressing thing. Ya gotta move it. Shovelful after tedious shovelful I kept trying to tell myself I now had something in common with rockstar farmers like Terra Brockman and Jenny Borchardt. It may be early for me to claim that.
I also tried zen thinking, you know, being at one with shovel and dirt. Mostly though, I looked forward to a hot bath later where I would close my eyes and dream of fresh veggies from our garden.