June 1, 2022 622 PM
A friendly young Marfan flagged me down outside The Get Go to say they need me to write another column, as they are presently lacking inspiration for their gardening efforts. Made me chuckle to myself since the column has up to now been primarily a catalog of my failures in that arena — perhaps that’s a form of encouragement for others.
Many, many years ago, doing my best to navigate life and being generally puzzled, I mused to a friend who had long been on a spiritual path, and was often wise as well as funny, that I had begun to suspect the main function of my existence, my entire life in fact, was to make others feel better about their own lives. My absurd missteps made others look fleet and accomplished. He agreed that was a very real possibility given the situations I found myself in more often than not. I accepted and embraced that possibility, as there are a multitude of ways to serve fellow beings, and this one is not half bad, all things considered. The realization came as a huge relief. My best efforts fell short of the standard of a successful life and given my sense of humor, at least I was able to amuse myself with how incredibly ridiculous life can deliver, even by my own hand and honest effort.
Speaking of efforts, back to my long-suffering back yard. Driving my dogs back and forth past The Presidio project out to 2810 for their morning walk, I couldn’t help to notice the very cool looking ground cover Robert Summers rolled out around the newly finished building. I stopped and spoke with a guy helping with the effort and learned it was something called “grass blanket,” completely biodegradable, that could be purchased through Native American Seed Company. I saw those big rolls of grass matt, fired up my imagination, and made the trek to their farm in Junction, Texas. I had already gotten my order of native buffalo grass and now had what I believed to be the exact item needed to keep the dogs from running around and tearing up the earth, disturbing the seed, and the birds from feasting. This was, at long last, the answer to my backyard woes.
It’s all in the works — seed down, grass blanket down, sprinklers positioned, all indications that progress and success are on the horizon — when the message comes via text that the person buying the old medical clinic next door to my house, the one where many, many Marfa babies were delivered and where Valda Livingston’s uncle was the optometrist, wants to also purchase my house.
So here comes a new chapter. It’s not without looking around and feeling sad that my ready to go “secret garden,” complete with the gate from my grandmother’s formal rose garden, will not come to happy blooming fruition this summer. That was the section of my yard that grew 25 foot tall sunflowers last summer that were so close together with thick stalks I couldn’t get through them. That was a valuable lesson not to be repeated. The buffalo grass gaining purchase on the bare dirt and spreading to make a reasonable habitat for all the small beings I like out there, that’s a loss. I do know whoever spends time back there may not know that two long years were spent pulling goatheads, and that pricker-free inheritance alone is worth the asking price.
So nope, my dream’s fulfillment did not come to be. They are halfway there. The grass matt will disintegrate into the soil and with any luck the buffalo grass will come up. I’ll be moving along to new digs in Marfa, and again I hope Will Juett at the USDA office doesn’t find out his support and steady, good-humored encouragement have once again trailed off into the unknown, with no clear victory. Any success I experience is as much his as mine, and yet the splendid failures, and unplanned detours, are mine alone.