Monday, October 5, 2009

Cause essay continued... including outro 09/30/09

Fifteen years earlier, I first walked into the backyard wearing a sleeveless summer dress and two inch high heeled sandals . We had just closed on our new home and I was eager to get started in the garden. Years of neglect had allowed anything and everything to grow unchecked. I had no idea of the dangers that lurked beneath the fallen leaves, in the tall grass, and in the twisted vines as I worked in the backyard that afternoon. I gave no thought to the blisters forming under the thin straps of my shoes and the irritation developing under my chin. I love to garden and I was on a mission .

Until that day, I thought hornets only made their nests in the eaves of barns and garages. I soon discovered they like the cool moisture beneath oak and maple leaves too. One wrong step and I disturbed a whole nest. Within a few minutes, both legs were so swollen they chaffed as I attempted to walk to the car. We were on our way to the hospital. I was immediately given a shot to counter the numerous stings I experienced. I spent the next week in bed with nausea. There went another week the weeds ran rampant in my garden.

Our eldest son sat across the breakfast table from me one morning shortly after this episode. He was enrolled in a Summer Fishing and Hunting Course through the State. "Mom", he said, looking at a swollen red spot on my arm, "that looks like a tick mark and not a mosquito bite. After placing a phone call, within the hour, I was at the Med-Now clinic. I explained to the nurse I was not a hunter but a gardener trying to get back to my garden hopefully before all the leaves fall from the trees. They removed a small tick from my upper arm. Now, both legs were still sore and my arm ached. Another week lost from gardening. I could not tell anymore if the nausea was caused from the medicines I had been given, the thought of a tick, or the August humidity.

Within the week, I was forced to call my dentist back. They were not pleased when I called to cancel my first appointment. I explained my dilemma and the rash on my chin. Lotions and potions do not seem to have taken care of this rash, so I headed out once again to Med-Now. I waited over two hours before being seen by the doctor. More time lost. They confirmed my poison ivy and I was off to the pharmacy once again. Now, my legs were sore, my arm ached, and my chin and neck were as itchy as ever. Nausea was becoming a lifestyle. My garden began to look more and more like a jungle.

I never did make it back out to my garden that first summer. I did however, take advantage of the year-end clearance sales especially at many of the garden centers. On the top of my list, I bought work gloves that accommodate my long fingers, 100% cotton coveralls, a long-sleeved shirt with button cuffs, a Men's size 10 all-season, high-top rubber boots that allow for a pair of thick socks to be worn underneath, and some scrunchies which would help to keep my hair from falling over my face and chin. It has also been years since I have made such a trip back to Med-Now.

I have just finished planting 250 daffodil bulbs beside the shed. My rose garden is winding down for the winter. My coveralls are hanging up in the cellar closet alongside all my other garden apparel. Tomorrow, I may wear my favorite pair of Capri pants, a matching top and a sweater. Mission accomplished for another year. How I love to garden.


  1. Hey Carolyn--I hate to be in a position where I have no suggestions, no critique, no complaints, no cautions, no nothing, but that, alas, is the state your essay has brought me too. You plan the trip, you take it in style, and you bring us home with verve.

    This first essay is a success and can be crossed off your to-do list forever.

  2. Thank you, John, for your kind words.