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Monday, June 08, 2009

Embrace Looking Goofy for a Happier Life

My careful observation of gardeners has shown me that there are times when they look a little bit goofy. (Goofy like this coneflower that looks like it just opened up and forgot to comb its petals out nice and neat.)

For example, I have noticed that a gardener might be standing there holding a hose and watering a plant when she sees something pretty out of the corner of her eye, maybe a new bloom. She turns to look to see what it is and the next thing she knows, she has just watered her shoes and her legs and is soaked from the knees down. That's goofy, isn't it?

Or maybe the gardener is startled by something slithering nearby or flying just a little too close while she is standing there watering. She lets out a tiny nearly inaudible yelp while simultaneously dropping the hose. The hose naturally lands with the hose spraying water straight up on to the gardener, soaking her as she valiantly tries to simultaneously grab it and keep track of whatever it was that startled her in the first place. The very act of “valiantly trying to grab the hose sprayer” is usually accompanied by an awkward assortment of goofy movements on the part of the gardener, a special “gardener’s dance”, of sorts.

And what must the neighbors think when they see their gardening neighbor next door running as fast as she can across the yard, waving a hoe above her head in an effort to scare away rabbits. “How goofy,”, they might think, “what does she think she’ll do with that rabbit if she actually catches it?”

No, you may not have the phone number for my neighbors to ask them what they think.

I have also observed gardeners in public, all cleaned up, so to speak, except for that little tell-tale grass stain on the knees of their pants, or maybe a little leaf stuck in their hair. And they have mud on their shoes. Or even more goofy, they have mud on their gardening shoes, which they inadvertently slipped on as they hurried out the door. But they weren’t in such a big rush that they didn’t have time to stop and kneel down and pull that one weed, which explains the grass stained knee. No telling how they got that leaf stuck in their hair.

And though I have used “she” or “they” in these examples, I think men have their goofy moments in the garden, too.

Case in point, have you ever observed a gardener reaching to trim something just out of reach, thinking that if he stretches just another inch or so, he’ll be able to reach it? But instead, he loses his footing and lunges forward directly into the shrub he was trimming, only to bounce right out of it, quickly looking to the left and right while saying to no one in particular, “I meant to do that”. Yes, we are sure you did.

There are other examples of a gardener looking a bit goofy, even foolish. There is the foolish and wild flaying around while trying to shoo away a bug that has long since passed by. And the frantic smacking of arms and legs to knock off a spider that turns out to be just a piece of a dried up leaf.

And what about gardeners who get caught alone in their gardens talking to their plants? Goofy.

We should all admit it. These wild, unexplained movements, looking a bit unkempt at times, and talking to the plants when we think no one is looking do make us look goofy. It can’t be helped. It is all part of being gardeners, no matter how dignified we think we are.

We should just embrace looking goofy, at least in the garden, for a happier life.

30 comments:

Bren said...

I don't think you look goofy at all... everyone has to start some where! :-)
Happy Gardening!

Kathy said...

Yesterday I had to weed a bed and plant a flower with my butt to the road. I thought of you.

Kristine said...

i was at work filling a 200 gal tank from a hydrant, put hose in top of tank, went to hydrant, turned it on: you get the picture: 2" hose flailing in the wind, the guy on the mower wetting his pants....

Sue said...

Funny post! You remind me of the day a while back, when I was discovering plants coming up, and don't even remember which one I was talking to, but I was very excited, and said, "Goody, goody, goody" or something like that. I then heard the teenage girl 2 houses down say the same thing. Was she excited about a plant coming up too, or was she mimicking me?

mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

The goofy moment I associate with you is turning the mulch and encountering a wasp nest. I'm sure you made a goofy picture for your neighbors.

Or am I misremembering that story?

prue said...

Goofy moments most days in my garden - I tend to garden in my Pyjamas! Thing is it is a balcony garden on a very main road! ooops

EAL said...

I was walking up and down our block with my husband taking pictures of no-grass front yards (check Rant tomorrow), and I stopped to look down at myself. I was a mess! Filthy torn shirt, one plant leg rolled up, the other not, dirty knees and hair--you don't even want to know. I had been gardening and forgot how bad it was.

Leslie said...

I think it's just appropriately gardener-ish...not goofy. Certainly not me. Even when I wore my garden shoes to church.

cat said...

talking to plants?! oh no..not me...never. *blush*

and yes, the garden hose and i have had many a dance.

loved your post! hehe

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh yes, I have goofed around in all of these screnarios. You forgot to mention the lovely, errrr, goofy hats we wear to keep the sun off and forget to take them off before running to the store. Or running to the store with your felcos still clipped to your hip pocket. A little unusual to say the least.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

They are even more goofy looking if they like to photograph their gardens. They can be seen hanging out the window and lying on the ground.The neighbors actually spread rumors about goofy neighbor with camera. Good thing I embraced looking goofy a long time ago.

Teresa said...

Wow! You sure got that right! I am always wondering what my neighbors see out their windows. The bug swat and the hose "dance" are two of my personal favorites, not to mention the fashion blunders and the near falls that I recover from. Thanks for a good chuckle. I am glad to know I am not the only one that is often a goof in the garden.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I think I have elevated "goofy" to an art form. I regularly yelp and jump up startled at the resident toads, I frequently have dirt spattered across my face, when it hasn't been smeared. I sing while I'm gardening.
Mr. McGregor would have been proud to see you chasing a rabbit with hoe. I'm partial to a yardstick or a broom, but have used a shovel for the purpose on occasion.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

I have bribed my neighbors with free food so they do not report my goofiness. The family, on the other hand, rats me out every time.

Swampgardener said...

I was searching for the word to describe what my neighbors thought of me this morning as I repeatedly repositioned my sprinkler, climbing into my front border, getting wet, grabbing the sprinkler, and moving it a foot. I repeated until I was doused, but that sprinkler ended up in the perfect spot.

Pam/Digging said...

Robin has a good point about looking goofy while taking pictures of plants for the blog.

You didn't really address the goofy clothes we wear, but that's where I really embrace it. Big floppy hat, baggy stained clothes, socks with gardening clogs. Not good looking, for sure, but it's what works.

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Goofy, moi? You've got to kidding! I'm the garden fashionista of the garden bloggers world and I have standards, you know, very high standards. I couldn't look goofy even if I tried. Hard.

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

Goofy as charged! A friend/neighbor stopped to chat with me a few weeks ago and I entertained him thoroughly with my attempts to keep the marauding cat away from the birdfeeders. I had to interrupt our conversation more than once to race for the hose and spray the cat.

GardenJoy4Me said...

Carol ... here I was thinking I had to be the worst explitive gardener around because I run from bugs and mystery creatures in the garden .. have soaked myself silly with the hose by mistake (who would do it on purpose ? haha) become constantly distracted while doing garden chores .. lost my towel a bizillion times .. well the list is endless and now I know I am NOT alone !!!!!!!!!!!!
THANK YOU GIRL !!!! : )

The Impatient Gardener said...

I think my goofiest moment was the time I came face to face with a garter snake on the patio. We looked at each other, both screamed (well I think he did) and I literally flew inside the house. My husband thought I had cut my hand off or something. I spend the next two weeks gardening with a long stick in my hand poking the area in front of me.

Yes, I think goofiness and gardening go hand in hand.

Rose said...

Well, I don't know about you, Carol, but I always make sure my hair is in place and make-up properly applied before going out to garden.

Ok, so maybe I have been known to prance around the yard in my ratty blue bathrobe trying to get a photo of a butterfly...or hide behind a bush trying to get one of a hummingbird...and I guess my make-up doesn't matter when all that passersby can see is the largest part of my body stuck into the air as I weed the flowerbed next to the road. Ok, I give up--I'll embrace being goofy.

P.S. My kids already think I'm goofy because of my obsession with gardening.

Caroline said...

That coneflower looks like I do every morning before my coffee, bleary-eyed with my hair all askew! Thanks for the "goofy" post - the comments have been hilarious!

Tay said...

Beautiful all your blog, I can breathe a nice air here, and this goofy flower seems to me so tender and funny, jeje, thanks for sharing your garden to all of us.
greeting from México!

love,
Tay

Layanee said...

Is there another look? If so, I am not familiar with it.

Laura said...

My family would think I looked goofy if I dressed in NICE clothes since my everyday work clothes are the same as my gardening clothes!

Meredith said...

There's a good name for a blog -- The Goofy Gardener! Add me to the count -- I've picked up my kids several times from school while covered in dirt(had to get that last plant in the ground!). And when I walked back to the house drenched from head to toe after saving water plants and gravel after the dog got in my pond... oh, I don't want to think about what I looked like.

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

These aren't personal experiences are they Carol? :) Goofy, who you callin' goofy? Loved this post.~~Dee

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Looking goofy is my normal way of being, Carol, so I particularly enjoyed this post. I'm comfortable embracing my inner goofy, though.

Gwendolyn said...

Brilliant. My neighbors always ask me who I am talking to when I am in the garden-- but I can't help but sing "I know you, I walked with you once upon a dream" when I spy an old weedy nemesis or a much beloved old flower!

Salix Tree said...

Talking to your plants isn't goofy, it's perfectly natural!
I enjoy being goofy and silly, though. It's that inner child still coming out in my old age.