Monday, April 20, 2009

Gardening Irish Style

Okay, I admit it. I'm getting to that age where the thoughts of spending a day tending the garden (or "yard" as my American father describes it) rather thrills me. While I might have thought otherwise a few years ago, these days getting down and dirty in the Irish muck is rather comforting. It's a twist that suits my balding head and failing ego, I'm sure.

Gardening anywhere in the world has its good points and bad. But gardening in Ireland is a no-brainer. Usually, the process goes something like this:

  • Go to the Garden Centre

  • Buy Assorted Plants

  • Dig hole in Garden

  • Push in Plants

  • Water

And voila! The darned things grow. It must have to do with the rich soil over here, but it seems that I have to work at it to kill anything. And this from a guy who didn't know his petunia from his iris only a few years ago.

Planted in a Nourishing Land
Come to think of it, growing almost anything in this country is a pleasure. From plants to relationships to personal growth, it seems that Ireland is a place that nourishes those transplanted from afar.

Right near to where I live, situated along the Boyne River, grows a mighty redwood tree. Redwoods are not, of course, indiginous to this country. But this fellow - well over 100 feet tall I expect - grows here anyway. Its tall majesty stands surely along the gently flowing river, and if I grow weary of living as an ex-patriate in this country, I venture down to see that tree.

It has had time to root firmly into the soil, and its great limbs act as a home for a whole range of critters: everything from assorted insects to squirrels. When I'm feeling lousy - and ex-patriates do now and again: it's part of the process of being so far away from home - I'll walk down to that huge North American immigrant and know that if it can survive here for so long, then perhaps I can too. I'll take shelter under its welcoming form, and for a moment look out along the Boyne and listen to the river's strength, and know that the tree rooted there for a reason, knowing perhaps that Ireland would nourish it for an entire lifetime.

And in that moment, I know that I have let Ireland re-nourish me too. And I'll pat the trunk of the tree, and nod in the direction of the whispering river, and go home refreshed.

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