#348: Green

July 18th, 2014

I haven’t been very good lately.

I’ve been good about going to work and coming from work and riding my bike and taking my lunch and talking about my feelings and making the bed and doing the laundry and arranging the July 26 reading at the MCA and using the blog to promote the July 26 reading at the MCA and brushing my teeth and keeping up on the dishes and cooking once in a while and running this weekly playlist thing with my friends and no missed stories 348 in and I got out to visit my folks and I bought myself some new undershirts and a couple button-ups and I’ve been shaving at least two or three times a week.

But I’ve had Chinese soup containers of frozen compost in the freezer for months.

Eggshells and coffee grounds and veggie snippets collected in the hope not of saving the world, but in slowing my own personal damnation of it.

At my old job, I had time to zip over to the Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm to drop the soup containers off once in a while (and a roommate to take them to her parents’ compost heap when I couldn’t), but a job in Evanston, an apartment in Noble Square and a community garden in Logan Square has been too much to pull off this season.

I used to volunteer weekly. I used to break up icy chunks of soil at the beginning of the season and watch watering week after week as the ground thawed and warmed and sprouted and grew fantastic piles of veggies for the children at nearby Christopher House. I used to go to board meetings in the winter. We made spaghetti and plotted fundraisers.

Not this year. Not once have I been there this year. Not once.

I had to stop coming, I told myself. I needed to do something for me.

But a new appointment took me to the region with just enough time between Metra and meeting to run by the house, remove the frozen garbage from the Electrolux and finally free the freezer for food.

And in a haven of green, I got talked into staying to water for a bit.

Do I have time for this? How long will it take to get to the thing?

The tomatillos were coming in nicely.

What am I doing here? Why did I say I would do this?

Is that a cucumber? The tomatoes look good too. Oh, those little edible flower things! They still grow those.

I’ve got to meet Jamie at that bar to talk illustration and then back home and crap, did I book the car for Friday?

The garden looks nice. Get among the vines with the can. It’s so nice, so lovely and green.

My job, oh man where do I start on that? Let’s see, I think all the book fair is covered, but that letter from the IRS is still sitting on the table drying from when the mailman left it in the rain and rent, shit did I yeah I did, OK that’s good, but I’ve still got that thing on Monday. Ahh! Freelance stories!

Green.

I hope they don’t ask about those freelance stories, but I really need the money because of that stupid work thing. Green.

Green.

I mean, that’s just unfair to ask me to do that. Green.

Green.

Green.

Little droplets from the can, sprinkling down an ersatz shower on the hungry little flowers and fruits and, oh look they’re growing pumpkins this year. Food for kids. Food for families. Food because it tastes good and is healthy and looks pretty in the waning evening sun.

Green.

And as I worked, growing food for others, all that ran through my madcap brain of anger and obligation was one endless, beautiful word. Green. Green. Green.

I’m going to go back to the garden, to as many Wednesday community nights and Saturday events as I can, back to shovels and watering cans and watching the ground split open and grow.

I’m going to go back because I need to do something for me.

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A group of elderly ladies in Albany Park plant micro-gardens to fight gangs

An abstract concert in Garfield Park Conservatory, with audio

Stanley the Centipede and Ernie Worm in the Logan Square garden

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You are currently reading #348: Green by Paul Dailing at 1,001 Chicago Afternoons.

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