tending my own garden
November 7, 2020
I always find it difficult watching playoffs and election results. And this time it was the election results that were spiking my anxiety into the stratosphere.
I had tuned off the TV last Friday, October 30. Couldn’t deal with the tension coming from the cable-news readers. And on election night, the best I could do was watch for a minute at 8:00, 9:00 and 10:00. And even that became an exercise in frustration, so the TV went off and stayed off.
But just because the ‘boob-tube’ was off that didn’t mean my anxiety was reduced or controlled. The thought of 4 more years of the ‘asshole’ was not a thought that settled me in any way; if anything it made me crazy. So, I decided that it was time to step away from the electronics and to tend to my garden. I was Candide returning from the New World of 24/7 cable-news and scattered social-media to the slower more practical reality of my backyard.
The lilac tree that has been part of my backyard landscape for some 30 years was badly diseased and needed to be cut down. So, Thursday morning I got my pruning sheers and my saw and began cutting it down. And by Friday afternoon, the contractor was taking out the stump.
The images below show the progression from bare trunk to removed root-ball.
The last four years have been my slow and painful disillusionment of the American culture I readily joined in 1968.
The novella begins with a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism by his mentor, Professor Pangloss. The work describes the abrupt cessation of this lifestyle, followed by Candide’s slow and painful disillusionment as he witnesses and experiences great hardships in the world. Voltaire concludes Candide with, if not rejecting optimism outright, advocating a deeply practical precept, “we must cultivate our garden”.
And I too returned to my garden after the craziness of the last 3 days.
And then at 11:44 am, I started hearing people outside cheering and celebrating.