Garden of Weedin’

I was outside this morning clearing out weeds and dead annuals and digging up Bermuda grass in preparation for fall planting (lilies and chrysanthemums) and transplanting (New England Asters), when I happened to look up and actually see the garden I was working on. I do see my various gardens, of course, but I tend to focus on what I need to do or what I am actually doing — focusing on the not-so-pretty things, in other words — rather than the gardens as a whole.

It could be that this morning I was looking at the garden from a different angle than I normally do because I was standing in the middle of what was, just a couple of weeks ago, a mishmash of dense grass, weeds, and wildflowers. But whatever the reason, today I really looked and it astounded me to notice that this particular area is becoming something of a garden of Eden instead of the garden of weedin’ that I’ve been dealing with.

I wasn’t the only creature out and about this morning, enjoying the lovely day and the lovely view — a black swallowtail butterfly flitted from flower to flower, so focused on drinking nectar that it didn’t even seem to mind that I was standing there taking pictures.

There seems to be a dearth of butterflies in this area of Colorado, so seeing one is a special joy. It also makes all the effort to create a garden even more worthwhile — not just something for me to do, not just an excuse for me to go outside, not just something to look beautiful, but also something that is worthwhile to other creatures, too. (Though to be honest, I could do without the grasshoppers. Prejudice on my part? Perhaps, but the truth is, they are extremely destructive beasts, eating 50% of their body weight every day. They supposedly eat 25% of available forage in the western USA. And, in fact, they ate absolutely everything Jeff and I ever planted except lilacs and Siberian elms; they even ate entire three- and four-foot saplings, bark and all.)

But this is supposed to be a post celebrating the positive aspects of my garden, not the negative ones. And there is much to celebrate today.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

A Dream of the Future

I came across a Buddhist quote this morning: “Do not dwell on the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

Normally I would agree that this is a good philosophy (one, moreover, that worked well for me while I was dealing with grief), especially since all we have is the present moment, an eternal now. Though come to think of it, I’m not sure that’s true. By the time you’ve said or thought “now,” that particular now — that moment — is already in the past. I suppose the secret is to forget “now.” To just be. Though I wouldn’t know either the truth of that or how to do it now that I’m identifying as a gardener. Or landscaper. Or whatever.

For example, this morning when I was out digging up Bermuda grass and other weedy vegetation, I also tried to figure out what else I need to do now to prepare for the garden I hope to have next spring. Prepare the ground, of course, to extend a grassy area into the garden area so I can more easily get to the back of the garden to take care of those distant plants. Decide what to plant in areas denuded by the removal of dead annuals, or perhaps decide not to plant and simply wait until next spring and see if any of those annuals reseed themselves. Also decide where to move plants that need to be divided, such as the New England aster, which are growing rapidly this year. (I started out with one stalk three years ago. It grew to seven stalks last year, so I divided them and thought I was set for another couple of years, but now each of those seven stalks has spawned at least an additional seven stalks.) Since the asters won’t divide and replant themselves, I have to decide where to put them.

Admittedly, this transplanting won’t need to happen for another month or so, but meantime, I need to get an idea of where to put them and to prepare the ground if they are to be planted in what are now uncultivated areas.

All of this takes planning because all of this takes a lot of work, and I have to pace myself to make sure I can do the work despite an aging body and diminishing reserves.

So, is planning part of the present moment? Obviously, one can only think in the present moment because you can’t think today’s thoughts yesterday or yesterday’s thoughts tomorrow, but all that planning is for the future.

And a garden is, almost by definition, a dream of the future.

Dwelling on the past is also something that is necessary when it comes to a garden. You have to pay attention to what thrived and what didn’t, what you did that you might not want to do again, what you didn’t do that you should have done. (I’m still trying to figure out what I could have done differently to keep swaths of my newly sodded lawn from dying, because until I can figure that out, any reseeded grass would surely end up with the same fate.)

There are, of course, those times in the garden that one does what one does — planting, weeding, watering — without thinking of . . . well, without thinking of anything. Much of gardening is mindless work where nothing exists beyond the work itself. So that part might live up to the Buddhist ideal, but the rest of it? Not so much.

It’s a good thing, then, that I’m not Buddhist.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

What’s to Come

We had a lot of rain Wednesday night, so yesterday morning I took the opportunity to start clearing out some flower beds in preparation for fall and winter. The lilac garden particularly needed work because the tomato plants I’d planted in the large space in front of the bushes went wild and completely buried the still-small lilac bushes. I trimmed back the cherry tomato plants, and then spent an hour or so untangling the bindweed from the lilacs, which I hadn’t been able to do because of the tomato forest.

Surprisingly, despite the neglect and competition, the lilacs are all doing well. I’d planned to plant the tomatoes in my raised garden next year, but now I’m thinking I will plant cherry tomatoes in pots to keep them from taking over the flower beds. Better yet, considering the long, ropy branches, maybe I’ll plant them in hanging pots.

This morning, the ground was still damp enough that I decided to continue my pre-fall cleanup. I hadn’t been able to get to my lilies to weed them because of all the wildflowers that grew in that area, but with most of the flowers spent, I was able to do a lot of clean up — pulling weeds, weedy grasses, and of course, the dying wildflowers.

I need to get grass seed to fill in the spots in the lawn that seem to be dead. There should be plenty of seed left to extend the lawn into the flower bed so that it will be easier to get to the lilies. Since that area is toward the back of the yard, I won’t mind as much if the weedy grasses encroach on the expensive grass — either way, I will be able to mow the area, making it easier to work that flower bed. (And end up with a few fewer feet of ground to weed!)

As I water and weed, I spend a lot of time looking at the garden, trying to figure out what works best for me and what doesn’t, and from a weed-pulling standpoint, I enjoy the bushy flowers like echinacea more than the single-stemmed varieties because they don’t seem to get as weedy as other plants. I must admit, though, that I did enjoy the wildflower gardens and the ever-changing blooms. My problem with the wildflowers was the difficulty in weeding as well as trying to control the foxtail grass that seemed to grow even better than the wildflowers, so perhaps the wildflowers would be best in the raised garden.

And oh, the wild four o’clocks. They never did well, never got the mounds of flowers they were supposed to, but I just found out they didn’t need to be watered much. I was going to move them to a place where they wouldn’t get watered when I watered my grass, but apparently, they don’t do well as a transplant. Considering that the plant went dormant for a couple of years, I’m not sure it’s something to worry about.

I also don’t think I’ll have to worry about planting more Love Lies Bleeding amaranth — apparently, it readily seeds itself. I like it, at least sometimes, when the garden itself decides what to grow. It saves me a lot of trouble.

I’d also considered not planting more moonflowers, but they do well here, and since it’s next to the fence, and since my neighbor likes it, it seems a good thing to replant, though it, too, might reseed itself, saving me the trouble. (Though, truly, it was no trouble at all to throw a few seeds on the ground and give them a bit of water.)

I realize there’s nothing particularly interesting in this post. It’s mainly for me, reminders of what’s to come in future seasons and what I need to do to ensure that coming.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Thinking Things into Futility

I’ve spent an interesting hour or so online looking for a word to describe one who tends to think things into futility. I started with “fatalist,” which sounds like it should be a word for a “futilist,” but only the end result of the philosophy is the same. Fatalists believe all is fated, all is destined to happen, which can leave them feeling resigned about life since they believe they are powerless to change anything, and in the end, that powerless can lead to feelings of life being futile.

Fatalism led me to nihilism, because apparently, the two are intertwined on the internet if nowhere else.

Nihilists believe there is no underlying grand meaning (or grand being) behind life and human existence, and that belief, too, can lead to feeling of life being futile since many nihilists believe that in the absence of inherent meaning, human existence has no particular value.

So although both fatalism and nihilism can lead to a feeling of futility, they start from completely different points of view.

Mostly, a search for a name for someone who tends to think things into futility led me to a plethora of mental health sites, as if a person who tends to think about meaning and meaninglessness has a mental health issue when in fact, such people (according to a different plethora of sites) tend to be intelligent and realistic.

The best thing I found about a person thinking things into futility is a quote from Alan Watts, a writer and speaker who translated Asian wisdom into plain English. He said, “A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So, he loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusions.”

He makes an interesting point, though I’m not sure if it fits the premise I’m developing for this blog post. In my case, I tend to think that by thinking about thoughts, I get pulled out of the world of illusions, and that by not thinking, I am lulled into a world of illusion.

But this isn’t supposed to be an essay about illusion; it’s about my tendency toward “futilism”.

I’ve recently mentioned that I’ve been trying to look at gardening as a game, which helps me keep on doing the best I can with my yard, otherwise, I tend to think to much about what I am doing, and the work begins to seem futile. Which, in the grand scheme of things, it is . . . futile, I mean. A hundred years from now (heck ten years from now!) who will even care? The land will be here no matter what is on it and how much work was done.

Even on a daily basis, gardening seems futile (if I think about it). Life so often does what it wants. Some plants that shouldn’t live in this climate do well; others that should do well don’t. Sometimes watering is the right thing; sometimes, it isn’t. Which means, that if I want to keep up with my yard, to continue my creative endeavors on such a large scale, I have to stop thinking so much about what I am doing and why I am doing it, and just play the “game.” Thinking about what works and doesn’t work in the garden — strategy — is all part of the game. Wondering about the purpose of it all is not part of the game, and in fact, is an unnecessary complication because a game is its own reason for being.

This tendency of mine to think things into futility is not just about gardening, but about almost anything. To keep up with this blog and to write a blog post a day, I have to focus on what I am going to say and then say it, because when I start thinking too much about what I am doing here on this blog and why I’m doing it — other than as a writing discipline — the concept of blogging turns to dust in my hands, and it seems futile to continue.

I read the same way I breathe — I just do it without thinking. But when an author makes a serious mistake, it thrusts me out of the story and makes me think, which is not a good thing. In the book I just started reading, for example, the character got a phone call from a call box, the last old-fashioned coin-operated phone left in town. Okay, as unrealistic as that may be, I can accept it. But when the author goes on to explain that the phone booth is outside the drugstore, in the alley by the dumpster — that did me in. For decades that phone has been hanging on a wall in an alley, and no one ever vandalized it? How am I supposed to believe that? So, since there can’t be a phone, there can’t be a call, and if there can’t be a call, there can be no story and continuing to read the book becomes futile.

Yep — thinking my way into futility again.

It does make me wonder, though: if “not thinking” seems to give me a sense of meaningfulness and “thinking” seems to give me a sense of meaninglessness, of futility, what does that say about me? Or thinking? Or meaning? Or anything, for that matter.

Hmmm. I think I just proved my point.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

An Instrument of Anarchy

Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace. ~ May Sarton

A friend sent above quote to me today. It’s a lovely sentiment — gardening as an instrument of grace — and I do agree with it. To an extent. And that extent is where the ruthlessness begins.

To be honest, I’m not ruthless enough to be a good gardener, but I am learning to be heartless when necessary, or rather, I should say I am trying to learn, though it’s hard. I really do prefer to think of my garden as a place of peace — and grace — but I am committing enough atrocities in even in the most innocent-looking of my garden spaces to satisfy a whole slew of criminals and mystery writers.

For example, the other day, I hacked a few plants almost to death to protect a few shy plants from being choked into extinction by those more aggressive organisms. I beheaded a few plants — cut off the spent flowers — and justified my actions by telling the poor headless plants the decapitation would encourage more flowers to bloom. I tried poisoning some plants that resisted any other of my attempts at controlling their behavior, but those plants have such strong constitutions they even resisted the poison. I’ve murdered weeds, kidnapped baby plants from the mama plants to give the mama room to grow, and even worse, I was so callous, I did not even hear her cries of distress. I’ve stolen the fruits of some plants — admittedly, that’s what I grew the tomato and cucumber plants for, but that does not mitigate the cruelty to the poor plants.

You’d think with all that mayhem (deliberately maiming a living organism) and herbicide (deliberately causing the death of a plant in the same way that homicide is the deliberate act of causing the death of a person), my plants would behave, turning my various gardens places into places of law and order. I suppose they are places of law — the law of nature — but they are rapidly losing any sense of order. Not only do I lack whatever authority or criminal tendencies might be necessary, I also lack the energy and strength to whack my garden spaces into submission, so the plants — flowers and weeds alike — do whatever they wish.

Apparently, for me, rather than gardening being an instrument of grace, it has become more of an instrument of anarchy.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Gardening Game

I’d just decided that gardening is simply a game I am playing so there’s no need for me to fuss about anything that grows or doesn’t grow, when I went out to work on the yard and was greeted with several unpleasantnesses: more stinkhorn mushrooms and eggs, a mess of cat diarrhea, a scourge of spurge, and tarantula wasps. I suppose I should consider these things part of the game, because a game is not a game if there are no challenges to overcome. On the other hand, a game is something you do for amusement, and my “challenges” today were far from amusing.

The tarantula wasp, a two-inch monstrosity, isn’t really unpleasant . . . unless you’re a tarantula, that is. The wasp seems to have little interest in humans — at least not this human — so they don’t pose a threat. Seeing the wasp, though, reminded me that despite a return to temperatures in the nineties, fall really is coming. And it reminds me to see if I can find any tarantulas as they begin their wandering to find a mate. Although this area is known for the so-called tarantula migration, the past couple of years these arachnids have been scarce. Perhaps this year things will be different. Other things sure were different (plants that grew enormously, for example, and weeds that moved into new territories), so why not the tarantulas?

If gardening is a game (though it seems to be more of a creative endeavor than a true game), then any wins come from the good things one finds in the garden, and today there were some beauties. A monarch butterfly that flitted about so much I couldn’t get a picture, a yellow coreopsis, a cucumber, sunflowers, and amaranth.

I wasn’t sure if I liked this foxtail amaranth, but it is growing well as well as growing on me (euphemistically speaking), so I might get some more seeds for next year. (They were in a packet of wildflower seeds, most of which didn’t grow perhaps because the seeds were old, so that makes me even more impressed with the amaranth.)

There really isn’t a score to keep in this gardening game, but if there were, taking into consideration the unpleasantness situations as well as the pleasantness ones, I’d have to call today a draw.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Live and Let Live?

If I gleaned another pithy life lesson from my garden today — which I didn’t — it for sure would not be “live and let live.” It’s a good sentiment, and one I would love to follow, but certain garden aggressors, not just weeds, tend to turn the adage too much to their advantage, overshadowing and choking out shyer plants. I do understand aggression is the way of the world, especially in a garden, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Nor do I have to like getting aggressive myself, but sometimes it’s necessary to become destructive in order to give less aggressive plants a chance.

Today was my day to try to control some of the aggressors that are way too successful at growing beyond their allotted boundaries. As I mentioned before, I got so tired of battling the Bermuda grass all summer that I broke my no-chemical resolve and purchased an herbicide a couple of weeks ago that’s supposed to control Bermuda grass. The first application didn’t do anything, nor did the second, so I sprayed again today. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the herbicide will work this time, though I have no real hope of it doing so. Belatedly, I read the FAQs, and found out that this product might take up to seven applications, which means to me that using the stuff is an expensive ploy to make them money and give me something to do while I wait until the weedy grass goes dormant for the year.

I also hacked off some of the far-reaching branches of my tomatillo plant. I wasn’t particularly interested in growing tomatillos, but I was gifted with a seedling, so I stuck it in a bare spot in my garden. Until I pruned the plant, it seemed to have taken over the entire area. It completely buried my violets, and it smothered my chrysanthemums just when the mums are starting to bud and need to see the sun. The tomatillo plant had grown so big that even after my hatchet job, most of the plant is still there, so hopefully all I did with my destruction was restore a bit of balance.

At the beginning of mosquito season, I’d sprayed my yard with a repellant, but it seems to have worn off because my arms are now decorated with several hugely swollen areas where the bugs feasted. Of course, if I had worn my magic anti-mosquito shirt, I would still be itch-free, but I didn’t bother to put on the shirt before stepping outside for just a minute early yesterday, and now I am paying for my lapse. (There really is such a thing as a mosquito repellant shirt. You can buy them, or you can buy permethrin and make your own, which is what I do.)

Because of all that, I should have also sprayed my yard with a mosquito repellant today, but after dealing with the herbicide, I didn’t want to inundate the place with yet another chemical, so maybe I’ll do it another day.

Live and let live? Apparently not.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

The Big Picture

I spend so much time focused on the individual aspects of my garden, both the delightful things like the flowers that bloom, the butterfly that flitted through the yard one day, the hummingbird that sipped nectar from my hanging plant, then stared at me through the window as if to thank me, as well as the undelightful things like stinkhorn mushrooms, encroaching weed grasses, and swaths of brown lawn, that sometimes I forget to look at the big picture. Well, today, I was skirting the house after my morning stint of watering, and the “big picture” suddenly took my breath away. I went inside for my camera, stood at the back door and shot this photo. Wow! This is my back yard? Really?

Even the left side of the red pathway (as you are viewing the photo) looks good although the green comes from freshly mowed weeds. The gorgeous greensward just to the left of the sidewalk is the area that I dug up last fall for a wildflower garden, and since there was sod left over, we decided to sod that area, too. I felt silly for having done all that work for no reason, but as it turns out, it was essential. That’s the best patch of grass on the whole property. The worst patches are where they simply laid the sod over the existing weeds and weedy grasses. The grass in those areas started out bright green, but now have now surrendered their precarious place to the original occupants. With any luck, this fall when the weeds die off, I can reverse the trend, but who knows? I sure don’t. Despite my pretty flower photos, I’m still pretty much of a neophyte gardener. (A neophyte photographer, too, but it looks as if I am more accomplished than I really am because I only post the photos that turn out. The rest end up in the trash.)

The green on the right side of the sidewalk is what’s left of the wildflower garden. It looks green but there is a lot of white from the copious alyssum. It’s called a carpet of snow, and from a certain angle you can see all the white, but obviously not from the angle the back yard photo was taken.

I friend had once suggested that I take a photo from the same place every day so I could see the changes, but I never did. For most of my tenure here, things were in such a state of disarray that there was no day I thought would a perfect time to start such a project. I realize, of course, that was the point, but I also had no concept of how the yard would turn out or even if it would turn out. For all I knew, there would forever be a heap of junk in the middle of a field of weeds. (This particular junk pile is just to the left of what is now the sidewalk. It isn’t really junk, just all the stuff that had to be moved to make room for the new garage.)

The only photo I have of the original yard is one from the opposite angle, looking toward the house instead of away from it. The old garage is where the raised garden now is, and the new garage is in front of where the carport was, which gives me a rather large yard!

I do have a few photos of the back yard that I took as work was being done, which gives me (and you) an idea of how much has changed over the years. Oddly, going by these older photos, it looks as if this yard was just a patch of dead dirt, but that was seasonal. Come spring and a little rain, and yikes . . . so many very tall weeds!

The above photo was taken in January, shortly after the old garage was torn down and the fence put up. The gazebo was erected over the existing concrete pad that once was in front of the garage. Eventually, the garage was built in front of the double gate, and the gate was removed. The brown bushes next to the pedestrian gate had to be dug up, and they were replanted in the angle formed by the sidewalk and the concrete pad. Looking at this photo, I am amazed at all that has been done in two-and-a-half years, not just what the builders did, but what nature and I did. No wonder I feel as if I work hard on the yard. I do!

It just goes to show that in gardening, as in life, it’s good to focus on the details, because that’s where the work is done — one detail at a time — but it’s even better to stop occasionally and look around to see all that you have accomplished.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

Raised Garden

Lucky me! More stinkhorn mushrooms today. I tried to dig up the mushrooms and found a whole nest of stinkhorn eggs under the rocks. Now that was a treat! I hope you know I’m being ironic. Stinkhorn, as I mentioned yesterday, has a horrible smell. I’m not sure if the eggs have a smell because the stench of the mushroom is so strong, it overrides any other odor. And anyway, I dug up the eggs as quickly as I could, bagged them, and threw them in the dumpster.

The eggs, from what I can figure, are what the adult mushroom grows out of, but I don’t know how the eggs got in my rocks. Just grew there, I guess. If you, too, would like to participate in the stinkhorn experience, you can buy stinkhorn eggs (the price I saw was $15.00 per pound). People actually eat the eggs; apparently, the taste — and texture — is like a cross between a radish and a water chestnut, but frankly, there is no way I would ever put one of those things anywhere near my mouth, no matter how hungry I am or how delicious it might be. I couldn’t even get beyond the slime factor to simply touch them with bare hands. Besides, if I want something that tastes like a radish, I’ll eat a radish.

I was being ironic about the “lucky me” introduction, but this really was a lucky day for me, stinkhorns aside.

A couple of workers came to finish building my raised garden bed in preparation for the fill dirt this weekend. The bed looks a lot larger than when it was just a frame on the ground, and it seems to crowd the pathway. Of course, the plants bordering the path around the raised garden have grown and spread beyond what they were when the frame was set a couple of years ago, which makes the path seem narrower, but that’s not a problem. Come fall, I’ll trim back the plants so that I won’t feel claustrophobic.

I still don’t know what I will be planting in the raised garden. Most probably, next spring I will plant tomatoes and cucumbers and other simple vegetables, and not many at that. If the growth of the tomato and cucumber plants this year is anything to go by, a mere four to six plants will fill the entire garden. If it feels too much like a jungle when everything is grown, then I might switch to a different plant the following year — an evergreen groundcover, perhaps.

All I know for sure is that I will not purposely plant stinkhorn eggs!

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Complicated Times

Life feels complicated recently, though I don’t know why. I’m not the one dealing with major issues: floods, droughts, mysterious ailments, car accidents, death. Looked at from that angle, my life is simple right now. Still, what life is and what life feels like are two different things, especially since I tend to empathize with other people and feel unsettled by their troubles.

I suppose I should be grateful that the worst thing that happened to me today is finding several patches of stinkhorn, a mushroom with a distinctly fecal and intensely fungal odor. I plucked them (not using my bare hands, I will have you know) and tossed them out, though from what I’ve read, doing so merely removes the visible part. The hyphae (filaments) remain in the soil and will generate more stinkhorn.

So how do you get rid of such things? You don’t. Nothing — no fungicide or weedkiller — gets rid of them, so it’s been suggested that people who were gifted with such fungi in their yards learn to accept them and to embrace their unique beauty. Yeah, right. They are absolutely not my idea of beauty. In fact, I think they are a bit frightening looking, though apparently, despite their nauseating stink, these mushrooms are not harmful to people, animals, or vegetation. (Which makes me wonder about people — in looking for information about stinkhorns, I came across people asking if stinkhorns were edible. Who cares? Anyone who has such a lack of smell as to be able to put that thing anywhere near their mouth has bigger problems that the edibility of the mushroom. But yes, if you are one of those whose curiosity runs in that vein, stinkhorns are edible.)

On a list of the worst life has to offer, stinkhorn is nowhere near the top, though it’s still nothing I want to deal with on a regular basis. Luckily (or unluckily) we will soon be back to our near-drought dryness, so the mushrooms should be making themselves scarce, though like so many things that complicate life, they will never be completely gone.

Life does seem to circle back on itself, bringing better times as well as more complicated ones, so as with stinkhorn, the best thing to do is . . . I don’t know . . . wait for the worst to pass, I suppose.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.