What to do when the indispensable trowel gets lost together with the hand-held shears. One has lost one’s hands, fingers. One is doomed to not garden that day.
And why has this happened when the trowel and the secateurs are indeed one’s hands, the wrists inutile without them? God help one’s psyche. What ruin and havoc will be next?
I hear the even, sweet, exasperating perseverance of Mother’s voice: “Where were you when you last had them?” Oh gaaaah! When last I had them fountains tossed in the sun, bright angels flew and landed in rose petals, and the air was laden with light and eddying perfume. Baskets of rare and perfect fruit were everywhere. Piles of gold.
Both tools have bright red handles. Red and green is why butchers put parsley on steaks and hamburger meat. Meat then is redder. So that if my two tools are astray in the grass their handles ought to be shouting.
And the day began so reasonably. A tour of the potager to have a single sprig of parsley with a drop of very cold dew on it. Admiring the buds on the tibouchina brought out for the summer. Soon. Thinking no growth is as bright and green as young growth of the yew. Whether hedge or specimen. Pure cadmium.
It was then that I thought to do some gardening but began to draw and from that went to writing and so gardening came late that morning.
Did I go out with the trowel and the shears?
How could I not? They are as necessary as hands to a pianist. And they have been indispensable for many, many centuries from Toparius on down and before that I’m sure.
I wish I knew some cries of lament — some dumps and dirges. (I’m sure that they follow some sort of formula.)
Down the road a bit lies Alice A., a walking rain cloud of a hand-wringer. I’m certain she would know. “Elegy on the Loss of One’s Favorite Tools.” (Spade of my heart, my only. Shears forlorn, as well. . . .) How the tears will flow.
I limp. I stagger. I am deeply ashamed. I cannot walk without my trowel, my shears. It is worse than being undressed. “That is worse than a nude!” said the sister of the collector Chester Dale when he showed her a Modigliani he had bought.
I will not buy a new trowel, a new secateur, any more than a Boston lady buys a hat. She has one. Whether on her head or not, it shows. She is accoutered for life.
And then I cry Fool! I never took them out.
There they are, in the shed where last night I left them after oiling the springs of the shears and stroking the trowel through a pail of linseed oil, turpentine, and sand to protect the blade from rust.