Us vs. Them

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  • By Jonn "J-Dogg" Karsseboom
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Us vs. Them

In Gardening, it isn’t Us versus Them

I got a completely new set of raingear this past Christmas and I can’t tell you how exciting it was for me. There are gifts, I know, but then there’s the gift that cuts through and becomes really personal.

It’s crazy that clothes for the rain can do that to me but I think its just part of life in the Pacific Northwest. Whether we know it or not we are imbued with an uncanny sense of awareness of the many different types of rain and so naturally, which clothes offer the best protection.

 

And being in the garden, outside, for most of the day, every day, all of the finest details of a set of raingear becomes readily apparent. I won’t go into the details of wrist clasps and cuff buttons and breathability and attached hat or no attached hat but know this: I couldn’t wait for it to rain.

 

I know. I know. I didn’t have to wait long.

 

For gardening outside, the key ingredient, I’m convinced, is being absolutely comfortable with the right amount of protective layers on despite the current weather conditions. Get that balance just right and it’s nothing less than having a garden superpower. I’m suddenly better than I was… Better, Stronger, Faster.

 

In my sometimes misguided excitement I have proselytized this sudden outdoor freedom/garden-in-any-weather gospel to anyone who would listen.

 

I’ve even railed against anything I thought might be in my way… like the Fashion Industry itself. “Create clothes for the outside!” I’ve protested, “We shouldn’t be house rats!”

 

Yet despite all this, I’ve also discovered, almost heretically, the absolute joy (and fun) of gardening indoors.

 

Creating different mixtures of indoor plants in an array of containers at the kitchen table while the wind howls outside has been like discovering that chocolate cake is good for me. Except in this case it is actually really good for me.

 

And meanwhile, I have been tearing into and upending the interior of the entire house, installing hanging brackets on walls, discovering different height plant stands and coordinating colored pots and exotic plants in as many places as possible. The nuances of indoor plant mixtures can quite literally create a complete mood for a room.

I’m just embarrassed that this discovery, known by many around me long ago, has come to me a bit later in life.

 

Still, I’ve also discovered the intricacies of indoor plant watering and feeding (use a long, necked watering can) and the magic of plant shine and even, how some of the stodgiest of outside gardening rules can be set aside and on a rare occasion, broken.

 

It’s freeing…just like outside gardening, except now I’m inside with all the comfort that comes from climate controlled forced air heating.

 

With another box of houseplants and containers and a few small bags of soil strewn across the counter, I noticed the other day I had inadvertently slung my raingear on the back of a kitchen chair.

 

The crispness of the modern, rainproof material showed me that it was still very new, and its clean logo stood brightly against the kitchen lights. The view from my windows was grey and dark and the occasional wind gust blew light rain against the windowpanes.

 

I was happy though. The world really didn’t need my curses against the windmill. It didn’t need another dueling choice of this or that. Another us vs them.

 

Instead, I could garden both inside and outside.
I’m beginning to realize, I suppose, that life in part is about finding that intricate, delicate balance. With or without the perfect set of raingear.

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