We did our garden yesterday. We have seedlings, and buds of lettuce, and herbs in pots by the door to the kitchen. We mowed the lawn. Everything looks prim, and ready for growth. We planted potatoes in a newly dug patch by the compost bin, and a rhubarb (which looks shockingly like a large piece of bark, I’ve discovered, in its root form), and shallots and garlic and peas which will, if all goes according to plan, twine themselves with the neighbor’s fence and climb happily all summer long.
In the afternoon (it was a really warm and lovely day) we stood and admired our handiwork. The boy’s parents were out, helping, as his father said, “the botanically challenged,” so we made tea and stood in the sunlight.
Around five I had a moment of complete and utter happiness. Churchbells were ringing somewhere close by, and the neighbors were having a barbecue. We could smell the warm must of the smoke, and the way it had drifted over our garden made everything seem a little hazy, a little dreamy. I could hear them; someone opened a bottle of champagne. I could hear kids in the street giving off little kid-shouts. The grass was green and our mowing the lawn had apparently attracted every robin on Hurst St., so that the proud little birds were perched on our fence and I swear I could see them smiling. Bliss, bliss, bliss. Later, George came over with a few bottles of delicious cider. We sat outside in our new garden smelling the neighbors’ smoke and soaking up the evening warmth.
By 1 AM, however, the neighbors’ revelry was less poetic. They had turned on some kind of horrible thumpy-thumpy techno music and, with their front door open, it was easily loud enough to be heard in all its glorious disgustingness from every room in our house. I felt sorry for the next-door-neighbors, who were even closer to ground zero. The party had spilled out into the street. There are mostly students here, but families, too, especially across the street, where I sometimes see children peeking out windows and testing the boundaries of their neighborhood by creeping just outside their front gates. We lay awake wondering if we should do something about the noise; and more importantly, if we did, what would it say about us? That we’re old, stodgy, grumpy? That we do not tolerate others’ ability to have fun while we want to sleep? Or that we stand up for our beliefs, regardless of how torn we are about it? We drifted at first into an uneasy sleep; then heavily we dreamt, and at some point over the course of the night, the thumping stopped.
And this morning I happened, quite accidentally, upon a quote by E.B. White: “People are, if anything, more touchy about being thought silly than they are about being thought unjust.”
But enough. We have blueberry pancakes and bloody marys to consume; and a warm garden that will bear us sustenance someday soon to spend the sunday in.