Yeah well so…gardens.
Specifically, my garden.
The one I planted so carefully. Seriously, I actually measured the distance between my rows. Like with a tape measure and everything. I even went so far as to run a line of string marking each row and then re-measured the distance from BOTH ENDS so that all of my rows would all be perfectly parallel. Careful, right?
Clearly, I had a lot of time on my hands in early spring.
What I’m saying is, I was a really, really, good early-spring-gardener.
And I was a really, really, good late-spring-gardener too. I weeded. I hoed. I figured out how to use a hoe. Kind of.
And then, of course, Sheldon showed up.
Sheldon is a groundhog. Or a woodchuck. Or maybe those are the same thing. I’m not too clear on wildlife nomenclature. Anyway, I did my best to discourage Sheldon from eating the fruits of my labor.
I put up pinwheels. And fences. And little fake-bird-things on stakes that flapped their little plastic wings when the wind blew. I did my honest-to-goodness-best to discourage him from patronizing the restaurant-of-my-garden-which-wasn’t-really-a-restaurant. (You can read all about Sheldon’s preferred entree here. And also, how he got the name Sheldon. And some other stuff. Seriously, you should read it. I’ll wait….)
….Great, you’re back! So, now that you know all about Sheldon you will understand when I tell you that I decided ‘round about a-long-time-ago-this-summer to just go ahead and stop weeding and hang up the hoe and let nature do the watering. Because Sheldon did not stop with the parsley. He ate everything he could get his hungry little paws on. (Actually, here’s an interesting fact that you probably won’t ever get to use in dinner party conversation – woodchucks are quite adept at manipulating objects with their paws because they have thumbs – or rather thumb stumps – with claws on them. Okay, end of wildlife lesson. You’re welcome.)
So with those amazing clawed-thumb-stumps this guy managed to knock down my fences, and I’m pretty sure he laughed at my fake bird-things and pinwheels. (I don’t know for a fact that he laughed, since I wasn’t there. But he probably did.)
Anyway. My garden. It’s overgrown. Like, really badly overgrown.
If I was a “real” gardener, I would probably be carrying around a lot of gardener-shame. But I’m not a real gardener at all, so I’m good.
Sheldon, however, is not good.
See, the thing is…I have my suspicions that someone has…ummmm…how do I say this?…done Sheldon in.
That’s a harsh thing to accuse someone of. But I have my reasons for thinking it.
First: The garden hasn’t been touched for a while. Even though the weeds have overtaken it, there’s actually quite a few herbs still growing among them, and I know for a fact that some of these herbs were routinely chomped by Sheldon. They are now, however, not chomped. I may even get to pick some for dinner one of these days.
Second: The hole (or “front door” as I like to call it) of Sheldon’s house is now as overgrown as my garden. (His front door being located smack-dab in the center of my backyard, this was easy to notice).
Third: I haven’t seen him scampering around the yard in a lot of weeks. And I’ve been looking.
Fourth: What I HAVE seen in the yard in the last several weeks, is a fox. A fox who doesn’t scamper so much as just sit quite still for quite a while and then madly dash off somewhere. Probably a really important errand he just remembered his wife asked him to run.
The thing is, I’m wondering if one of those errands might have been…well…Sheldon?
Okay, I have no proof of this. And if I’m wrong, I apologize to the as-yet-unnamed fox. I might just be assuming way too much.
And really, I don’t even know if foxes eat woodchucks.
And even if they do, who am I to deny this hungry fox his dinner? I mean, it’s not like he can eat the sage and parsley in the garden like Sheldon did. And also, you know, circle-of-life and nature and all that.
It’s just that…well…Sheldon.
Sheldon who pestered me. Sheldon who benefited from very many hours of my labor. Sheldon who pushed down my fences and ate all the leaves off of my cucumbers and melons before they even got to be cucumbers and melons.
And now he’s gone.
And I guess you’re probably thinking that I’m gonna have some lesson here – something about appreciating people in your life, despite the trials and despite the difficulties and despite the tough times – because they’ll be gone someday.
And that? That would be a really great lesson. Really.
But no. That’s not what I’m thinkin’ at all.
What I’m thinking is – what in the world am I gonna name this fox?
Because life goes on.