Sunday May 16, 2021

With end of semester nearing (another day or so of grading and that’ll be that), I acquire tools and prepare for summer. Gardeners needn’t be “tool freaks” like the Whole Earthers — but they do need tools. Garden tools: “objects of both practicality and great beauty,” as Derek Jarman notes. Shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows: these are all “means of production.” Tools both for planting flowers and vegetables and for removing grasses and weeds. Frankie digs beside us as we work. With help from Sarah’s parents, we replant beds around the base of the house. The work we do now opens new avenues of thought, new spaces of possibility featuring rocks and stones. Before I know it, I find myself in the know again about Sakuteiki, the oldest published Japanese text on garden-making, written in the mid-to-late 11th century, when the placing of stones was gardening’s essence.

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