Sunday, August 23, 2020

Garden of Small Delights

We live in a time during which taking delight in small things is absolutely essential. This week, several small things delighted me:

I stepped out onto our landing on my way to work and was astonished to find this magnificent little snail, pictured here, hanging out by the steps. It has been years since I’ve seen a snail, although they are pretty common around here. I do not know how he made his way up a flight of stairs to find himself lingering on our landing, but I applaud his determination. His shell was a work of art, and I’m no snail doctor, but he looked healthy and alert. His little snail ears were erect and his coloring looked good, or at least what I imagine healthy snail coloring looks like. Clear and unblemished. I was kind of hoping he’d still be around when I got home, but there was no sign of him upon my return from work. I wish him safe travels.

I came across an article on my favorite trash site, the UK Daily Mail, about how to grow an avocado plant from an avocado seed! The article was much-derided in the comments section by sour Brits, their main gripe being that this is a commonly-known thing not worthy of having an entire article dedicated to it. I disagreed wholeheartedly. I had never heard of this before. I was enthralled by the entire process and the resulting vibrant, deep-green plant—to the point that I marched straight to the kitchen, plucked the seed from an avocado, and followed the first step of wrapping it in a damp paper towel and sealing it in a zip-lock bag. Of course Mr. Typist had to pop my plant bubble by insisting that it was going to grow unsustainably huge and that I was creating a monster and had no plan for how to deal with the outcome. He is correct that I have no giant-plant management plan in the case that it turns into an Audry and starts trying to eat us. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Right now, I just want to see a tiny little sprout of green life spring forth from my avocado seed.

I started working with my new trainer this week, and she re-introduced me to the joys of and benefits of good posture. She was very adamant about the importance of posture, and she’s right of course. Most people have crap posture for one reason or another. I have a life-long slouching habit that started in childhood from always being at least four inches taller than most of my peers, and trying to “lower myself” so as not to stick out. We worked for a full ten minutes just on posture. Pulling my shoulders back and standing up straight made me feel less fatigued, and I looked balanced and aligned, if nowhere near as naturally graceful as my trainer. It brought back a childhood memory that I am not sure is real or not, of being in early grade-school and all of us walking around with books on our heads and giggling and laughing when they fell off. The book-on-the-head thing may seem stale and hopelessly old-fashioned now, but I firmly believe there should be a return to teaching good posture as a standard basic. I’m afraid that with all of our devices, we are going to become a society of slump-shouldered sad sacks unable to raise our heads high enough to make eye contact and knuckle-dragging our way to the chiropractor’s en masse for a fix. Oh, wait...

There is a woman in the apartment next door who will...not...stop…singing. It’s been well-established that I’m a killjoy when it comes to public expressions of jubilance, but this is not that. This is a loud, toneless caterwauling of an endless playlist of terrible pop songs, bleated out at full volume and amplified by the sound bowl that makes up the breezeway between our two buildings. I could not sing if my life depended on it, so this is not a criticism of her skill. It’s a criticism of her complete lack of self-awareness and concern for her neighbor’s sanity. Every time she starts up, I break into a stress-induced sweat and dive for my headphones to try to drown out the sound, to no avail. It’s too hot to close the windows right now, but even with them shut, I can still hear her flat, voluminous wailing. I have heard several windows slam shut across the way when she starts up, so I don’t think I’m the only one who has this reaction. This is ripe for an intervention, and I may just organize one: “There’s a bunch of people in this complex who care about you a whole lot and don’t want you to get stabbed in the throat by a neighbor with a bad case of misophonia.”

In keeping with the theme of gardens, enjoy this beautiful and heart-wrenching rendition of “Down by the Sally Gardens” from the time long ago of 2013.

--Kristen McHenry

1 comment: said...

Mr. Snail is a fine-looking slug, and this is a really enjoyable post!