The Kiss by Gutav Klimt
Shovel in hand, I bend and dig, soil sliding from the edge like ice cream from a cone. Grass tumbles to the ground in clumps as I follow the curve, invisible to all but me. No paint or hose marks the grass. I dig and stop, dig and stop, watching the curve widen and stretch. The tips of the riverbed point inward, arms reaching to embrace and I imagine a garden as affectionate as the gardener.
The Prairie is My Garden by Harvey Dunn
A framed copy of this print hangs in my dining room. It's one of my favorite paintings.
Dry clay soil lay piled along the mulch before dropping into the rocks of the river bed. Cramped plants flop and sigh into the freshly turned loam, as I plan and dream. The trowel sinks deep, small Swiss cheese gouges dotting the surface as I check for moisture. Damp soil lines the edge of the rain garden, an oasis in a desert. Flowers thrive, pushing forward in a cramped bed and I imagine a garden resilient and beautiful.
Clinque Cheron by Theophile Steinlen
I also have a framed copy of this popular print. I wanted to be a vet or writer before becoming a teacher.
The squirrel runs along the fence, zigzagging between the trees and the bird feeder as the dogs bark, racing across the rocks and into the garden. I stop digging to yell, the shovel thrown to the ground as I chase them back into the grass. Safe in the neighbors yard, the squirrel scolds, its tail twitching with irritation. Bent stems lie at odd angles, broken and torn and I grab the remains as I fuss at the dogs. They sit at my feet, tails wagging, tongues hanging to the side. I throw the dying plants in a pile and sink into the grass, 100 pounds of dog jostling for lap space. I imagine a garden straight and square, pinched and pruned, small hedges keeping everyone in line but I haven't imagined my garden. I close my eyes and try again, seeing my garden as a painting, unpredictable and unfinished but full of potential.
This section of my garden is dry and unfabulous in this photo but it shows a part of the newly expanded rain garden. The new garden bed lies above the riverbed. I'm not done with this project and still have a lot of work to do.