Friday, August 20, 2021

Drizzle started midday, and by 3 p.m. rain was sluicing off roofs and down the pavement. No one will come out for a garden tour in this, I thought. But the downpour retreated to drizzle by 6, and come out they did: so many people showed up in my little yard that I lost count of them . . . 25? 30? They were friendly and interested and pleased to be out and about: a few serious gardeners but most of them aspirational. The little garden was shiny and wet and fresh-faced and looking its best--all in all, things went as well as they possibly could have.

But as I was telling Tom afterward, I felt very strange about having to behave like The Expert. One of the things I like most about gardening is being The Amateur--unscientific, unschooled, puttering around to please myself. Poetry is different. There, I do not want to be The Amateur. Poetry is my vocation, and I take it seriously and study hard and strive always to be better, better, better. In my own manner, I am a deeply ambitious poet.

My gardener Amateur status doesn't mean laziness. I do work hard at it, and I do have plans for the future. But I know very well that I could be better at gardening than I am, if I were to push myself to take an interest in soil tests and diseases and propagation and such. While I push myself constantly in poetry, I hum and bumble in the garden. And, you know, I like it that way.

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