While I was gardening…

People say a lot about community…

I think I prefer community at a distance. There are reasons for this.

I almost titled this post “A weird day…” because yesterday WAS. It was weird.

The planting of the last 11 tomatoes went easily. Looking at today’s date, I am realizing it is nearly June. It seems LATE to only now be getting everything in the ground. But then it has been cold and rainy so much. And I’ve been busy. And things get planted when they get planted. “Just stick it in the ground…” That’s what grandma used to say.

I have zinnias, big healthy zinnias, coming up in the yard…the yard that will soon be mowed. None have come up voluntarily in the flower bed where I want them. The ones I planted there on purpose, that are just tiny sprouts, have largely been eating by something…ants maybe?

Here are the fabric squares I mentioned yesterday…

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They are very large, made from a Drops scarf pattern. I might make some more so I can put them in threes. The fabric yarn is made more stable with some acrylic yarn. They will stretch, but hopefully not too much.

About community…

So yesterday, I was gardening and planting tomatoes. The only space I had left was at the side of the house. I happily noted there was a perfect amount of space for them. I notice the neighbor across the street, the one that’s in love with his leaf blower and gas-powered toys…is riding his new scooter. This guy is in his 70s. No helmet. Tentative on this bike. But he wants to show it off, so here he comes, big smile on his face, up my driveway and…right into my YARD. Where he stays for some time. I joke that he’s messing up my beautiful lawn…which is overgrown and full of “weeds”…and very soft because it just rained…but it’s not really about the yard, it’s about space, my private space, upon which he is trespassing…uninvited.

Then there are the two neighbor girls, the ones who are now homeschooled because the youngest one got into trouble at school and the school officer was called. The girls who are constantly in and around the home of my leaf blower neighbor who is their free babysitter and substitute caretaker because the mom is never home and the dad who is home all the time is glued to his computer games and is basically worthless as a parent. So, these girls do what they want. The older one is ok, respectful, but the younger one…no.

Because these girls are always with the leaf blower, suddenly they are in my yard, too. The older one constantly talking, the younger one investigating every inch of my yard, messing with my animals. Also uninvited.

Here’s the giant peacock doily I’ve started for the leaf blower’s friend…

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Suddenly, the older girl is asking about the giant peacock doily on my porch…

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…did I make it, that she wants to learn to crochet, that her mom knows a little and will show her, that her meemaw knows more, but her mother doesn’t like going to meemaw’s house because meemaw makes her work, makes her do things for her, so her mom will get her started crocheting, but then her mom says she will send her to MY HOUSE to TEACH HER HOW TO CROCHET.

I’m taken aback, not sure what to say. The last time I heard from her mother was about a year ago when we were sick of listening to their dog bark nonstop for the umpteenth time in 2 years and had turned them in to the city. They must have been fined because she was screaming profanities in my direction.

I look up from my stunned silence and uncertainty at how to respond to this girl and notice her sister is nowhere to be seen. In my busy-ness in getting tomatoes planted I put the ducks in their pen and left the gate open for my own convenience. And now I see it was for her convenience, too, for she is INSIDE MY BACKYARD…watching my cats…probably noticing the kittens. I make a beeline for her. She’s smiling a big toothy grin. I’m pissed. I make a motion with my big green garden-gloved thumb that says OUT. She says she’s just looking at this cat…which cat? I don’t care. I tell her GET OUT OF MY YARD and slam shut the gate behind her. She then makes a beeline for her own house, to do what? Report to her mother everything she’s just seen in my yard? How many animals, etc… who knows. Either way, these aren’t people I trust. They drink, they smoke, they do meth, they take advantage. Not trustworthy.

Some knots on the Heart Pillow…

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So the older girl is talking…she talks a lot…I am still fuming a bit…the leaf blower is still in my yard on his scooter…the girl gives me a light hug and thanks me for wanting to teach her to crochet because…she is saying…she needs something to do to get her away from her sister. Her sister gets frustrated or something and…see all these scratches…I had noticed the red scratches up and down her arms, on her face, some raised like welts…well she has all these scratches because of her sister, her sister does this to her.

Suddenly her sister is back, another big toothy grin, one that shows front teeth missing. I look at her and say…You’re doing this to your sister? You’re scratching her like this? The scratcher realizes she’s been exposed, the toothy smile fades slightly. That’s really WEIRD I tell her.

What I really want to tell her is get out of my yard, you’re not welcome here or invited, don’t touch my animals and don’t ever come back. I want to tell the leaf blower that riding vehicles into someone’s yard is rude. I want to tell the girl’s mother I will NOT be another free babysitter for you and if you don’t keep that dog of yours quiet…the dog that barked for SIX hours straight on Sunday…we WILL report you again.

I turn to the older sister when she asks how I learned to crochet. I taught myself, I tell her, mainly by watching youtube videos. There are a lot of youtube videos you can watch, I say, you can learn a lot there. Get started, get your mom and meemaw to teach you the basics, then show me something you’ve made and I will try to give you a little guidance. That doily, by the way, is a very complicated project, but there are easy things you can make. She frowns…this isn’t going as she planned…

I’m ready for them to go. The leaf blower is ready, too, but still lingering. I mention there are lots of youtube videos of people crashing those scooters. He objects good-naturedly. Then I ask if he knows Pee Wee Herman and the movie Pee Wee’s Big Adventure? He hasn’t seen the movie. I tell him about the crash scene…

Pee Wee’s Bike Crash

He scowls and looks pissed, like he might say something REALLY rude. I laugh and he’s done, drives back over my yard down the drive to his house. The girls follow suit.

The day’s not over.

To distract from my tale of woe, here’s a gem I got at the thrift store a while back, a butter press. I think I paid 50 cents for it…

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So then my neighbors to the south get home from the store. I am scooping up piles of freshly cut grass from their yard. I use them for mulch, fertilizer, and weed smotherer. I ask if they mind me picking them up. No. This is the yard where their giant Labrador poops, so I watch my step. The lawn the deadbeat dad just mowed. Seems fitting. The neighbor lady asks…don’t you make the doilies…which she calls “those things.” Yes, I do. How much would one cost? With all the labor and yarn about $75. Oh, that’s too expensive, how about a smaller one? I don’t know. Well, how about just a little round one? She can pay me $25. She likes red. I haven’t agreed to anything but say I’ll look around for yarn. Oh, and she doesn’t know when she would be able to pay me. I want to say REALLY??? ANYTHING ELSE??? Since when did I become the neighbor who wants to do things for them for free? Among other things…

Once I’m back in the house I see friends from California called. I return the call later. Turns out I was dialed by mistake, but we chat for a bit. This is when they tell me they are homeless and living out of their car. I am surprised. The last time we spoke they had lost their home but found a place to stay. But that didn’t work out. The man who owned or ran the place was extorting money from desperate people, taking their food stamps, cash, whatever he could get, disconnecting their electricity. So, they left.

I had a lot of good times with these people, they are friends and have been for a long time although we lost touch for about 10 years. It’s hard to know this has happened to them, that I know people who are in that category of “homeless” that is affecting so many.

At the same time I am noticing how relaxed my friend sounds. He and his wife are with new friends, and I can hear laughter in the background. He, they, sound HAPPY. Without the burden of paying for a home hanging over their heads, they sound happier about life. This man is a veteran, a musician, an animal lover, a father…one of the nicest people I’ve ever known who showed me kindness. He and his wife are camping, staying in campgrounds in a tent, living out of their car, sometimes staying at KOAs, once in a while getting a hotel. Most of the time they are camping near Mt. Shasta where it is so, so beautiful. It is so beautiful here, he says. We’ve met so many amazing people here, he says.

Another shot of those squares…

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I suggest he look at getting a popup camper, something that can be pulled with a car. I almost talk again about how H and I think about getting a camper, being on the road, how that appeals to us. But I am listening to their story. We talk about manifesting, listening to and connecting with that part inside you. I tell him your Spirit has the power to rearrange the universe to suit what you want. But how many people really know that? I hope he really does. I am interested to see what they manifest for themselves. Perhaps they wanted to have the freedom of this kind of life, needed it in some way, needed to be unfettered and free. I feel like that myself, a lot.

Community…how different our communities are. At the moment, I prefer the one I have online to the one I’m living in. It is nothing like the community I have experienced elsewhere, the connections I have made with people especially while traveling. I think about that life a lot, how it appeals more and more.

I told H the other day that this feels like my last garden. It feels like a last hurrah. I don’t think I want to keep doing this, keep living the way we are. H still talks about getting a trailer, and I am still on board with that. I wonder how that would work, what it would really be like. I don’t much like the idea of scrambling for places to park as that is a major issue for many. In LA my hostess pointed out lines of RVs parked along the streets, “illegally parked” she said…because there are so many homeless…45,000…and the neighborhoods don’t want them. How you are “illegal” because you can’t afford to live like they do, in a house.

Anyway, there were other weird things that happened yesterday. It was very odd. Something weird is happening in the world. Sometimes it’s hard to remain the observer.

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