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Archive for June 12th, 2012
I’ve mentioned my reading garden a few times on Twitter now, but it’s hard to really explain what it is just 140 characters at a time. Since it’s a drizzly evening here in Northern Virginia, I am trapped inside, so I thought I’d take the time to actually talk about it.
First, it’s my literal garden. Ours, really. Over the last three years my wife and I have been massaging the side yard of the house, pulling down a chain link fence, getting rid of some overgrown divider bushes, walling off a garden portion for fruits and vegetables, putting in a small patio/cross-through to the backyard, expanding the garden, and putting in some Adirondack chairs. It sounds like a lot, but we’ve done a little at a time. The result, the garden to the right. As, apparently, filmed by J. J. Abrams considering that lens flair.
One evening after work I noticed the chairs were in the shade. At least, at this time of year they’re in the shade from when I get home until sunset. So I grabbed the book I was reading at the time, settled in with a glass of water, and did some reading.
It’s become part of my routine, save on evenings like this when it’s raining. And I love it. We’re on a cul-de-sac, so there’s not a lot of traffic, it really is about as idyllic as is possible within a subdivision inside the Beltway.
This has been damn good for me. My typical evening would see me get home from work, head to the basement where my laptop and television are, and watching…crap, really. Noise television, excuses to just have the television on making bright pictures. I’m even doing that right now, as I write this blog post, because I’m still fighting that habit on nights that I can’t go into the garden. Which is a shame. I love my new-found evening reading time, I really do. It’s probably tripled the amount of time I sit with my nose in a book on the average day. I’m consuming books again at a rate I like. Going through half of an Ace Double in a few days, or a novel in a week.
I used to read like that. I’m glad to do so again. Stephen King shames me best, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” So I’m making that time again.
Unfortunately, I know my time with the reading garden is fleeting. In another month we’ll be in the armpit of a DC summer, with heat and humidity that may push me inside no matter how much shade I have. In a few months beyond that, I’ll have my time split by a new baby. Beyond that, the days shorten and I’ll get home at night.
For now? I’m loving it. Come home, relax with a book, and do more reading. It’s like my morning writing, it’s amazing how much I can do if I just set aside a little time each day. So find your place, find your time, and do some reading. Or, I’ve always got a second chair if you want to join me in the reading garden.
Oh. Plants currently in the reading garden: four blueberries, nine strawberries, a cherry bush, two cages of tomatillos, two cages of tomatoes, two poblano peppers, a jalapeno, a banana pepper, a cajun belle pepper, peas, beans, rhubarbs, pickling cucumbers, and eggplant. Edibles elsewhere: a raspberry, two black raspberries, two blackberries, two pawpaws, and a wide selection of herbs. Kinda awesome when I list them all out like that.