About a month into the pandemic, my husband got the itch to plant a vegetable garden. Though the carrots and the onions didn’t take, we currently have beautiful, delicious tomatoes, cucumbers, and jalapenos running out of our ears. We (and many of our neighbors and friends) have eaten peas, squash, zucchini, radishes, lettuce, cabbage, cauliflower, and okra from our garden during the last few months. We are still waiting on the watermelons.
The garden has given my husband not one, but two creative outlets—he grows and then he cooks. He has had such fun in the kitchen these last few months as he dreams up new ways to use the bounty from his garden. We have eaten well, and it has been such a lovely activity for him to enjoy with our two year-old. He channels the uncertainty of the pandemic into those vegetables.
If my husband is the grower, however, I have landed firmly on the other end of the continuum. I am the grim reaper of the garden. Weeds, beware. Unruly bushes, watch out. Dried up roses and lilies, Godspeed. My clippers, my trowel, my garbage bag, and I are coming for you. Ripping things out, cutting them off, and throwing them away have been cathartic for me. As the two year-old squatting beside me in the flower bed growls, “NO WANTIN’ WEEDS!”
For all my activity, the yard still isn’t in perfect shape. Because I’m a toddler mom. Every gardening session is interrupted by a nap, a meal, or an overzealous “helper” who is ripping up the healthy hostas leaf by leaf. But, getting outside in the sun, destroying some dead and unwanted foliage, and taking a break from the crazy talk inside my head has been good for me. I hope I seem less corona-ragey when I go back inside.
My friends and I joke that gardening has become our version of therapy during the pandemic. Rage mulching, we affectionately call it, after several of us took to our flower beds this spring. It translates to other activities, too! Rage mulching is really any manual labor that helps you, well, let off some steam.
We all have some steam pent up inside of us these days. Whether it is anger over losing a job, frustration with being stuck at home with your kids, grief over losing a loved one, fear about going to work or seeing a spouse go to work each day, we all have steam built up inside of us from the unusual stressors of life in a pandemic.