A heat wave "is a prolonged period of excessive hot weather (we have been experiencing this in New York City) which may be accompanied by humidity" and "severe heat waves have caused catastrophic crop failures." (For more details on heat waves, please click here.) In addition to the extreme heat that has plagued New York City for the past several days, even more high heat, humidity, and near 100 degree tempeatures are anticipated for the remainder of the week and throughout the weekend. Therefore, the latter part of the aforementioned quote is what has me concerned when it comes to my terrace garden; because baby, it's hot outside . . .
Under "normal" summer weather circumstances I have to water my garden, where I grow over sixty things, by hand, three times per day (early morning, late afternoon-early evening, and late at night). However, when the weather conditions are severe, I need to water more often than that or I, too, have catastrophic failures with a number of my herbs, vines, plants, flowers, trees, and shrubs. Although the task of watering is time consuming — since I do it by hand — it does give me the opportunity to attend to minutest detail of each of the things which I grow in my garden (as discussed in a previous post which you may refer to by clicking here).
The scheduling of my watering ritual is always in between my free-lance writing, movie-making, and photo-art assignments, which for the past several months have dwindled. Thankfully, the majority of them can be fulfilled by my working at home, and, therefore, I am able to maintain my garden very well. However, for part of this week I have accepted a job to work in a Lower Manhattan office all day. While it is a blessing to have an opportunity for extra income in this economy, the job is spiritually draining, which is ironic since it is in a church; and, so, today, after I gave each of the things that I grow in my garden a generous morning drink, I began to experience a feeling (perhaps prompted by the fact that where I'd be working would be spiritually draining) which is very familiar to me, and that feeling is regret.
Regret for the things I have done in my life; and regret for the things that I have failed to do. For if I had made better choices in my life, or if I had overcome certain physical and emotional obstacles, I might have more "regular" work, or I might book bigger free-lance assignments, and I might even have a garden with a watering system like the urban garden of a woman (whom I will call TD) that I know who, like yours truly, lives in the Upper Westside of Manhattan. TD's place is thirteen blocks north and four blocks west of where I live, and, like me, she has a terrace garden. Her garden has a has a lovely Hudson River view — with no high buildings to block the view's sight lines — so the feel is open and expansive. Because her garden is not "hemmed" in by surrounding buildings, it gets a chance to cool down at night, unlike the garden of yours truly. Her garden also has an elaborate watering system, and another thing that is unlike yours truly is TD and her computer scientist partner own their place, which I was told that they, in 1999, renovated for $400,000 — a fact not lost on me, who at her ripe middle-age still struggles to pay rent.
They can be found by clicking on the following links: ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, and SIX). The program, as I have said in the aforementioned posts, was initiated to enable blind, and legally blind folks like myself, to participate in cycling.
One Saturday morning after completing a ride offered by the Achilles Tandem Program where TD had been my cycling captain, I was invited by her to attend a party which she was throwing for her partner's birthday. TD and I had discussed gardening during our tandem ride, and she thought I might enjoy seeing her garden. I showed up at her party with a bottle of special vino, a box of my handmade greeting cards.
I also brought TD and her partner some small cuttings from my herbs and a small — but very unique — plant from my terrace garden. I had thought that they might enjoy adding what I grew in my garden to hers. I did not know at the time that her apartment was a two story floor-through; nor did I know that her terrace garden overlooked the Hudson River and was a two floored garden chock full of numerous lush things including plants, herbs, trees, shrubs, and vines — all of which were watered by a very elaborate watering system.
Sometimes I think, and perhaps you do as well, dear reader, that the mental reshuffling of the cards of life choices is an effort to keep them still active, keep the possibilities still open, sparing the pain of loss and failure. For me it is interesting to note that when I, as do other folks that I know, reshuffle the past, the outcome of my imagined scenario, and the imagined scenarios of folks I know, is always to believe that, had we done other things, life for us would mean that we'd be healthier, thinner, more talented, have better jobs, and always have more money. It is interesting to note this, because rarely in the reshuffling of life choices game, do I, or folks that I know imagine the scenario being having ill health, being fatter, being less talented, or having a worse job or no job, or being poorer; or, to not be alive at all to indulge in what ifs and if onlys, which is why I pointed out that my doing this is futile, presumptuous and ungrateful.
However, on a hot morning such as today, it is harder for me to keep a good perspective as I hand water my herbs, vines, plants, shrubs, and trees, with a prayer that they will not suffer and die from this afternoon's predicted heat, since I will not be around to water them, and cannot ask others that I know to do this for me, nor can I afford to pay someone to step in for me today while I am in Lower Manhattan.
My recently added Echinacea plants seem to understand my ambivalence about leaving them for the day, reassuring me with their waves and smiles as seen in the photographs posted below,
that they will hang tough in today's heat.
And they do seem to be enjoying terrace garden life. Now if the photographs that they pose for, which are available as prints, or as images rendered into invitations that preserve a moment in time, program covers that enhance any occasion, and greeting cards that are about more than communication, would start bringing in some revenue, they'd be earning their keep and possibly a watering system!