Recently my husband and I were shopping at a nursery for vegetables. In the middle of a discussion about the benefits of the little-known “Italian Heirloom” tomato versus the famous but longer-season “Brandywine,” which is a clear risk in Seattle’s iffy summers, he interrupts me.
“What’s that on your face?” he says, rubbing my forehead as if I were a toddler with paint on my face. “Oh, it’s a worry line.
Wow…it’s just so deep it looks like it was drawn on.“
Putting aside the rating I’d give that comment on the tact-ometer, I have to admit he was right.
Checking the car mirror, I saw a large vertical crease, at least 3/4 of an inch long, edging to the left. Apparently the left side of my face, and by extension the right side of my brain – which handles creativity, visual learning and art appreciation – does all the heavy lifting, leaving the left, number-loving, logic-oriented side to nap poolside. This will not come as a shock to many who know me, particularly my seventh grade algebra teacher.
What did I have to worry about? Well, there was the chance my husband could choose a non-approved (by me) tomato variety, and the fact that we had only 20 minuntes to shop, check out, and drive five miles in construction traffic to our neighborhood for school pick-up. Note: remember to apologize to Mom for cutting her off like a New York City cabbie when she called right then.
Successfully retrieve full complement of kids (two) from school, then home to start digging and pulling. A neglected bed, running the length of the house – about 25 feet worth – needed clearing; the weather service predicted the long-delayed spring rains were due to hit Seattle all week starting the next day.
Among the archeological finds uncovered were:
- a tester-size vial of perfume (perhaps a former gardener worried she’d fall in the manure),
- a double-pointed pencil, and
- a plant tag proving that this easterly bed had been home to vegetables before, or at least one “Black Beauty” zucchini.
But my husband, planting tomatoes and peppers on the south side of the house, definitely found the coolest artifact: an old garden glove that had become so enmeshed with the earth it was conpletely covered in roots! There’s a metaphor in there, something about the hand of man being consumed by the jungle, but I am without latte, and cannot think of it.
Two hours later and fifteen minutes later, I had reaped bare soil, and planted lettuces, cabbages, three kinds of mint, dahlias, and alyssum seeds skirting the feet of the dahlias. My husband always goes crazy mint-buying; I like to change my craziness up; this year it was heirloom tomatoes and dahlias. I never imagined I’d be a dahlia person, but I went to The Puget Sound Dahlia Association’s sale earlier this spring and caught the fee-vah, netting new seven dahlias for the garden. As renters who have no excuse to be putting any money into the garden, and considering the space they take up, I’m pretty sure that qualifies as crazy.
Inside, scrubbing up in the bathroom to divest myself of the Pigpen-like aura of soil dust I’d acquired, I looked up in the mirror to check out the @#*&! worry line. It was – gone! The avenue between my eyebrows was as flat and smooth as fresh pumpkin pie.
Some digging and weeding al fresco took me from this:
Who knew gardening was better than Xanax? So maybe I don’t need to spend scary amounts of money on skin-toners and wrinkle creams. I just need to spend more time in the garden! Plus there’s the added bonus of burning 600-plus calories in two hours, which is about the same burn rate I get on our basement ellipical exer-marcher, but I can only ever stand to slog through 25 minutes of that, even with a really snappy podcast queued up.
I know what you’re thinking, but no, honey, housework will not do my face any good. If you want to see the forehead you married again, take up the vacuum cleaner and pass me the trowel. Too bad garden shopping was apparently so stressful, but I have a hunch that knitting, as long as I stay away from lacework, will be beautifying too.