Laurence Carr/ Garden Plots 4/12/20

I was out tending the garden, or I should say, uncovering last fall’s leaves and dried stalks so that the real tending could begin in earnest. One of our resident crows perched high above on a dark bough of a maple, one in a ring of elders that surrounds the house and have looked after it for well over a century. As I raked and scratched away at the earth, the crow spoke a repetitive caw. A caw that I hadn’t heard, and that I felt was directed specifically toward me. Again and again from the bough I heard, “uh-Uh . . . un-Uh.” Clearly, this crow was a distant relative of the midnight visitor that invaded the narrator in Edgar Allen Poe’s classic poem, “The Raven” and haunted him with sleepless torment. That “Nevermore” refrain, the bird’s negative answer to the narrator’s probing questions lead to his descent into doubt, frustration and madness. And here I was, starting the garden season on an Easter Sunday afternoon in the midst of a pandemic. I realized that the best and perhaps most sane thing I could do was not to ask any questions at all. Not about gardening, or future weather patterns, or how long I would be sequestered. Or any questions about pandemics that come cloaked in their whats and whens and time frames. Or about the nature of Easter, with its bouts between faithful hearts and rational minds. No, I decided that perhaps it was best to keep raking, making piles, carting them away, and preparing for tomorrow’s work. That the best thing I could do at this moment was to tend our gardens.   

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