Here’s the back porch rocking chair where I spend much of my time spring, summer, and fall:
And here’s what I see on one side:
And looking straight ahead this is the view:
And here’s the view from the back of the yard looking toward the porch:
And in addition to the view, I get the sound of the pond waterfall:
Parkinson’s is what led me to throw myself into gardening big time. I’d always puttered around in the garden but pre-Parkinson’s my first choice on a nice day would be to get on my bike and take off. But with Parkinson’s came balance and stamina issues that forced me to give up on lengthy bike rides.
Gardening has filled the gap left by forgoing biking. And I’ve become as obsessive/compulsive about it as I was about biking. But that’s my nature.
I figure I get as good a workout from gardening as I would from going to a gym. And I have something to show for my efforts when my plantings take hold. I can completely lose track of time and shed all my worries and concerns.
One of the best old-age memoirs I’ve read is “Somewhere Towards the End” by Diana Athill, One of the greatest book editors of all time, Athill wrote this memoir in her 89th year. She deals with old age and approaching death with bravery, humor and honesty.
She devotes a chapter to gardening which she says has given her and still gives her great pleasure. While she has had to turn over many of the gardening chores to hired help, she describes the continued rich rewards of gardening:
My present treasure is a sophisticated plantswoman with whom I have a delightful time choosing what to plant where: to me the part of gardening that is the most fulfilling. And still, each time I’m there, I manage to do at least a little bit of work myself: tie something back, trim something off, clear some corner of weeds, plant three or four small plants, and however my bones may ache when I’ve done it, I am always deeply refreshed by it. Getting one’s hands into the earth, spreading roots, making a plant comfortable — it is a totally absorbing occupation, like painting or writing, so that you become what you are doing and are given a wonderful release from consciousness of self. And so, for that matter, is simply sitting in your garden, taking it in.
That says it all.