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Baby Matters

Turmoil in the Soil

May 1st, 2016

By Trent Wilkie


My wife loves to garden. She loves the meditation of it. The nurturing. The pragmatism.

I have yet to embrace this, but I want to try. I think.

With the onset of spring comes the the onset of me making excuses of why I won’t tend to our gardens. I’ve used allergies. I've said I was too busy. I’ve even blatantly lied about how I can hear plants talk and I find it very annoying. In the end I used honesty. I said, "I can't weed the garden, I don't know the difference between the weeds and the plants." To which Elizabeth replied incredulously, "They are all weeds." This sort of proved my point.

This year I'm going to try to take care of the gardens. Check that. I'm going to try to try. Why am I going to try to try? Well, I'm doing it for the greater good of humanity* (*my personal well being and to benefit our toddler).

First things first, I will have to embrace the monotony of weeding. I know there is some sort of meditative state to this; a form of introspection and focus. But I've never been really good at that type of thing so I'm going to have to suck it up and just do it. If anyone has any tips, please offer them as I don’t want to spend the whole time crying. Also, I will no doubtedly have to get up every two minutes to direct our son away from the road so any inventive tips on this would also be greatly appreciated. And I've already been told I can't tie him to anything so that is out of the picture.

I'm going to add a digression to this story because I can. Here it is: I have spent a lot of time outside. I lived in the woods for a good portion of my life. I was a professional wilderness guide and loved it. I have an inert respect for all things green and for the beneficial resonance of being outdoors for a prolonged period. I consider the woods my church.

With that said, a garden is a very distant cousin to the wild and weeding a plot of dirt still doesn't turn my crank. It turns nothing. I don’t even know if I have a crank when it comes to weeding. I will have to talk to a physician. Or a psychiatrist. In fact, I’m having trouble with the meaning of the idiom altogether.

I know nothing about improving soil or the spacing of plants or why you can’t yell your seeds into sowing themselves.

You know what I do know? My spawn will enjoy being outside and working on something that grows. He will see the whole ‘toil in the soil’ and hopefully glean the importance of incremental successes. He will learn with me. In fact, he will probably learn faster than me because of the historical ‘old dog/new tricks’ theorem that a famous scientist once wrote.

I’m looking forward to being in the yard with my young one. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when we apply ourselves. I’m looking forward to seeing the look on my wife’s face as either our efforts succeed or fail and watching her be proud either way.

I think this is what gardening is all about. I hope it is anyway.  

Trent Wilkie is a writer/journalist/performer in Edmonton Alberta, Canada. Trent has written for everything from CBC Radio (The Irrelevant Show) to The Canadian Emergency News to Adbusters to the Edmonton Sun and Trent is also a member of Mostly Water Theatre, a sketch comedy troupe and has also performed in several Edmonton International Fringe Festivals and had varying degrees of success. As well, Trent has also been a wilderness canoe guide for over 10 years. Having paddled all over Canada, he considers the deep dark woods a therapy that only comes at the cost of comfort. When taking time off from trying not to be boring, Trent likes to relax while watching horror movies and trying to write the perfect three chord song.


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