Lockdown

I live in a Boston suburb, not one of the suburbs which were on lockdown today, but next to one that was on lockdown. It has been a surreal day. Fifteen miles away the whole city of Boston and several surroundings towns were in the grips of a lockdown and a massive manhunt. People have been murdered. Firefights have erupted on streets I know well. With all this happening, on my way to a friend’s house early this morning I drove past the entrance to a local college and saw a man planting pansies. He knelt in the earth, hunched over his task, seemingly oblivious that the world next door had gone insane. Despite the fact that I could not rid my mind of the juxtaposition of the images on TV news with the image of the man planting pansies, I copied his diligence. With my world in lockdown I went into my garden to lose myself and attempt to expunge the images and knowledge of what was happening nearby. I planted close to two hundred perennials plugs. I weeded, watered, prepped soil, raked debris and other gardening chores. But I could not escape nor excise the knowledge of what has happened in Boston, and what is happening in Boston. Evil exists, and persists. I believe gardening is a great healer, but I believe today I discovered that gardening cannot heal all.

8 thoughts on “Lockdown

  1. Hi. We used to live in Cambridge MA and, although now home is thousands of miles away, we too watched this week’s events with horror as dreadful deeds played out on streets we knew so well – where we had walked and shopped, studied and worked, the hospital where our daughter was born. The notion of the man planting pansies is a lovely counterpoint. As you say, it does not make it all right, but it helps a little.

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    1. Landscapelover thanks for your comment. Boston is a small city, but many, many people come through here at some point in their lives. I appreciate your reaching out from thousands of miles away.

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  2. Hi,

    I just discovered your blog and enjoyed your post. I wrote this poem a couple days after the lockdown. I spent Lockdown Friday planting pansies as well. I’m glad that the madness has subsided. A new day is here.

    “Marathon”

    I engage in marathon sessions of mindless maneuvering over beds of shredded mulch.
    I plant pansies in wrought iron containers that contain the hopes of a peaceful season.
    Meanwhile, bombs explode at mile marker 26
    and patsies are planted in plain view,
    and false flags are raised high over Copley Square
    casting shadows along the sidewalk of Ring Rd.
    casting shadows where my footprints left their mark in wet cement precious few years ago.

    I leave my house and travel along desolate ghostly streets
    as fragmented pieces steer the wheel
    and God watches from the center of the intersection
    of Individuation Drive and Dis-Integration Ave
    and Anima Mundi cries tears of rain upon fertile spring soil.

    I drive past boarded up and locked down houses and see zombies trapped inside.
    They watch human flesh flash by and long for a taste,
    but they are too scared to step outside and feast
    for their TV sets have given them an all you can eat buffet
    and they are feasting on the theatrics of the CNN Stage Company.

    They watch a horrific play about a fugitive on the loose,
    a fugitive who frees himself from a bus of prisoners,
    steals an ambulance, jumps off a dam, blends into a crowd
    and winds up on the roof of a hospital to finally have his story heard.
    But in this play, the hero is not Richard Kimble.

    The hero wears a blue uniform and black boots
    and we give him a standing ovation at the amply armored Arsenal Center for the Arts.

    This tragedy has not ended.
    It is a tragic tale that has been told throughout time.
    It was told on 9-11, told in Oklahoma City,
    and will be told again as long as we buy tickets at the theater.

    I deadleaf Hellebores for hours and I sit with boredom for a moment or two.
    It creeps into moments of everyday aversion
    and sings louder than the temporarily satisfying music of Snatam Kaur and Diana Ross,
    songstresses who drown out my boredom with their songs of bliss and longing
    as long as the batteries of my Galaxy will allow for.

    I lean into boredom and discover there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.
    Decaying hellebore leaves are silently removed and I am renewed in my faith.

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