At the Fountain, c. 1890, Theodore Robinson* (1852-1896)
Watering is not my favorite garden job.
I can never make it through unscathed. A simple procedure, such as moving the oscillating sprinkler into the center of the blue perennial border, will seem to be going well--when suddenly the hose arcs and strikes my shins, leaving a swath of mud on my pants just above the tops of my rubber boots.
I'm not as dumb as I look, and I finally realized there wasn't any point in doing "just a little bit" of morning watering in clothes I planned to wear into the world. It's one thing to visit Prospectors Nursery bedecked in mud, but agrarian-chic hasn't caught on in other venues.
Nevada County dirt is red and indelible. I'm an excellent laundress, but am defeated by local mud stains, so a new streak of mud is a sadly permanent addition to my wardrobe.
Pass me my watering can instead of a hose, though, and I'm as happy as a child with a favorite toy. I have an old-fashioned Haws galvanized-steel watering can, and using it makes me feel like the girl in the painting.
Time out from the 21st century. Time out from worrying about droughts or global warming. I'm focusing on the fine waterfall from the rose at the tip of the spout, concentrating on the balance of the can in my hand, admiring the plant I'm watering, and remembering why I chose it. Often a butterfly wafts past. The can is wet and I get a swipe of red mud on my pants. That's fine. Nothing can break my mood.
Watering is my favorite garden job--when I have a metal can in my hand.
*Theodore Robinson, an American Impressionist, lived next door to his friend Claude Monet in Giverny, France. This painting is in the collection of The Arkell Museum, Canajoharie, New York.
© Daffodil Planter 2009. All rights reserved.
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