I hate the pandemic. I hate that it has taken away so much. So much of the obvious things, like hugging and eating out. But so many other things. At least for me personally.
I have found it difficult to read a book. I keep having library books that were on hold, come up for me to borrow. I start to read them. I try. I really do. But before I am halfway through I have drifted off. I lose interest. I just drop it.
The same holds true for watching things. Nothing seems to hold my attention. I like to watch old Grey’s Anatomy. So, so, so many episodes and seasons. It is like slipping on comfy slippers and flannel pajamas. I am up to the storyline where Izzie gets sick. Maybe it is season five. Post-Denny but George is still around. I can have it on and sort of pay attention or not. Watch it or not. I know what happens. And I still love it.
The only other thing I have been watching is Korean dramas. But not the serious ones. I like the ones with the most ridiculous plot lines. Crash Landing on You (somehow the main character ends up in North Korea after a tornado paragliding accident) and Kingdom (a historical drama but with zombies!) I think that I like these shows because I have to pay attention. I have to read the subtitles. And they are so ridiculous. In a good way.
The other thing that I really like is my “garden”. It is a “garden” because it consists of a bunch of plants in pots on my deck. I have three tomato plants; one is cherry, not doing great but really producing a bunch of tomatoes; one has blossom root rot so the tomatoes it has produced are rotted at the bottom; and the last I was gifted via my CSA. She is doing the best. Still healthy and green but her two tomatoes that she came with are still green. I am holding out hope. My cucumbers produced three great ones and have sort of shit the bed. I struggle with under and over watering and I think they are suffering because of it. I was also gifted a pepper plant from my CSA. She also came with a cheater pepper on her. It is still hanging in but I took too long to repot her and she dropped all of her lovely flowers in the interim. My favorite is still the eggplant. Right now she has four beautiful eggplant. I worry that I am going to harm her development. I worry that the ants are not good for her. But she is hanging in. In hindsight, I would have chosen a variety that did not need to grow for so long. Even her biggest one has a ways to go. I remain ever hopeful.
We are also volunteering to harvest our church’s community garden. We go every Friday. It is the easiest part of the volunteering season. We do not need to plant or weed, we just go and pick. We take our haul to the priest who ministers to the Hispanic congregation. He used to do those services in our church but found space closer to where his congregants are. He has a pantry in his garage. Refrigerators and a freezer. Shelves for dry goods. Along with our harvest we have been taking him jars of spaghetti sauce. Pasta is a simple dish that the pre-teens of the farm workers can make their younger siblings while their parents are still working. I still find it hard to wrap my head around that.
The time in the community garden is precious to me. I love knowing what is growing locally. What is in season. It is what the community garden is teaching me. When we first went, there were a lot of lettuces and kale (the kale never seems to end). On a kale side note, I make my son harvest it. Three kinds. He has no patience for it. I make him do it. Every. Week.
I have learned to identify what an artichoke looks like when it is growing. I know what collard greens look like. And how snap peas grow. I know that the scratchy zucchini plants irritate my skin. And that we need more time for cucumbers and tomatoes. I learned that hot peppers grow vertically from the top of the plant. And that swiss chard always looks beautiful.
Last week someone must have come and taken all the zucchini because there were none. Our haul was meager, kale, some peppers, basil, collard greens and chard. My tomatoes at home have just started coming in so I know that those will be ready soon. I am looking forward to a mad tomato harvest.
These are the things that I can still do. The things that do not require more focus than I am able to provide. I dote over my plants. Maybe too much. But I love them. Their greenery. The smell of the tomato plans. The velvet softness of the eggplant leaves.
These are the things that I can still do. Not so many. I wish the list were longer. But I do not know when that will happen. For now, I will remain happily smelling tomato plants, feeling up eggplant leaves and watching bad Korean shows.