The Lazy Gardener Loves a Rainy Day (So does Otis the Cat)

Muddy bootsIt’s been a rainy spring and a stormy June, but Otis and I can’t bring ourselves to complain.

I could tell you it’s because I’m a garden person that I’ve always loved rainy days, of all kinds: the dramatic ones, with ominous green-gray skies, rolling thunder, gusts that bend stately branches into a wild dance, and sheets of rain; the all-day misty drizzle; showers intermittent with occasional columns of sunshine steaming the streets.

But I was once a full-time flight instructor, and I loved rain even then–when we measured inclement weather by a hierarchy of jargon that warned us to stay home by degree: airmet, sigmet, convective sigmet. A rainy, overcast day thrilled me even then, although it signaled a more difficult workday, flying “blind,” by reference to instruments alone. And a stormy day meant picking our way through a maze of cumulonimbus clouds and storm cells, on the advice of some omniscient air traffic controller in a dark, cavelike room somewhere, guiding our tiny electronic blip through a labyrinthine red and yellow radar maze. Or better yet, it meant calling it a day, postponing the journey home, and staying safe and dry in a distant airport. Most often, it meant a day without income.

Nope, rain’s just in my nature, for some reason, and the fact that it’s greening up the place is just a side benefit. Does liking gloomy days mean I’m a depressive, or a perverse secret pessimist of some kind? Or is it just that they give me an excuse to hole up in the afternoon with a book or a movie, no bullying sun to pressure me to ‘get out there and get some exercise’?

Maybe it’s a sign of laziness. Rain signals a respite, in a general sense, and for the lazy gardener, it means no watering will be necessary, for a couple of days, at least. The skies are doing the heavy lifting, and a good book is calling. I imagine there are many thousands of real gardeners out there who view rain as a necessary evil, as they would much prefer to rise at dawn, pull on some gloves, and shove a trowel into the ground with focus and energy.

Otis the Cat takes every opportunity to relax

Otis the Cat takes every opportunity to relax

Not me. Dawn with rain drumming on the roof is one of my greatest joys; it signals me to roll over and snuggle up to Hal and to Otis the Cat for another few hours and to feel no guilt about it. And while I do enjoy the Zen of digging in the earth, getting my hands dirty, etc. etc. I can’t truly say I’d rather be working in the garden than enjoying it. Let’s see, weeding and digging holes vs. coffee and a crossword amid the greenery. Hm. Tough choice.

So unless a backyard barbecue or winefest in the garden gets rained out, I’m all for gray skies and a gentle patter on a tin roof, lulling me to sleep, my fat book sliding to the floor. Otis the Cat is with me on this one. She’s curled up beside me, never missing a chance to take a break.

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