We had seven inches of snow over the weekend. It fills out the hollows of my hill. From the windows above, the slope of it disappears and I see only gentle brown and white.
I had hoped it would make the ground one smooth blanket, but poking up throughout the snow are the brown, leafless stems of garlic mustard. When I cut down the honeysuckle, the garlic mustard moved in. I did not know what it was, so I did not instantly pull it up. It will be a problem for years now.
Knowledge is a challenge. Before I started my restoration project, I liked having woods behind my house, but I knew little about them. They were a green privacy curtain, beloved by birds and deer, but not much else. Now I know them well enough to have goals, which means I know them well enough to register failures. Fortunately, I enjoy the work so much that I am not daunted by the prospect of more weeding.
Monty Don says that gardeners rarely sit in their own gardens; there is always too much to do. I can live with an endless to-do list in my head, hating myself for not finishing it. But with the hill, I do not feel this so much. I think because it is alive and always changing, I do not feel as responsible for it. I am giving an aid here and there, because if I do, the hill will heal itself. There is freedom in knowing it’s not all up to me. It turns that endless to-do list into celebratory options.
And it lets me love the snow, even with the garlic mustard poking through it.