The transition of summer into autumn means, among other things, that I can keep working in the garden after 10 am. This is a good thing, both for my health (physical and mental) and the garden, which has been neglected for most of the past month.
After the weeding, trimming, and mowing, this season's big task is going to be dividing. The irises need thinning, for one thing, and the liriope needs attention also.
A neighbour gave me the liriope several years ago, when she was thinning hers. I wasn't sure what to do with it, but it is part of the gardener's code, I think, that one does not turn down a gift, so I stuck it in the back of bed with the lilies of the valley until I could figure out how best to use it. It has thrived on this neglectful treatment, and now I have some ideas about how -- and more importantly, where -- to use it, so the time seems right.
I made a start by dividing one clump of liriope and getting it all replanted in a border, but gardening is complicated more than I expected by the fact that there is no dog following me around while I do it.
Actually, everything is complicated by the fact there is no dog following me around. Go to the freezer to get ice cubes for my drink, and pull out an extra that I then have to put back. Sit at my computer and reach down to scratch empty air where an ear should be. Wake up in the middle of the night and step over the spot where the dog slept on my way to the bathroom.
I know, intellectually, that there are people who do not have dogs, and profess to be happy with that state of affairs, but I do not understand them. I have no clear memories of not having a dog around, and I feel as though I'm missing some necessary skills or knowledge. How does one live without a dog?
Obviously, we will be getting another, at some point. There are a number of decisions to be made before that happens: Puppy or older dog? Another golden or something else? If something else, then what? and I want to get beyond the acute missing of this particular dog and into a more general state of missing dogs before I think too much about any of those decisions.
In the meantime, I have to learn to garden alone. Next week, the irises.
Pablo Neruda, translated by Alfred Yankauer