Gardening Without Guilt

Five years ago, I drove to Home Depot on a Saturday to purchase a new toilet lid. I was feeling pretty down. I felt tired, old, and fat. But mostly fat because I just broke a toilet seat. I thought it difficult to remember things and pick up stuff.

When I screamed, “No!” I was on the verge of despair. I was in a funk, and I started to get myself out. I was young. I was young enough to turn things around. Improve your health. Improve.

As I was excited and optimistic to start my new healthy lifestyle, I got stopped at a traffic signal. While innocently waiting for my light to turn green, I noticed that a construction site on my right had a banner advertising the opening of…I stared at it; I rubbed the corners of my eyes. I couldn’t believe what was happening. A new Krispy Kreme donut shop!

Krispy Creme blew into town a decade ago and opened several locations. They closed all of them down almost as fast—the bastards. The only thing they did was open for a short time to make me addicted. What utterly irresponsible behavior!

Here was the news that they would be returning. One mile away! Knowing I’d need two spare toilet seats, I bought them at Home Depot. Claudia West, an environmentally-minded landscape designer, recently reminded me of this event.

I asked, “What can a typical homeowner do to help save the planet?”

She replied, “Buy some plants.”

Damn! This was much better than I expected. It was the best response I heard. We could all do a lot of good if we planted more plants in our urban sprawls, primarily if our purchases were geared toward plants with ecological functions, both for the environment and us. It’s a rare win-win situation.

The Universe wants us to suffer for some reason. It wants us to choose between good and bad things (even if they are sometimes perfect). Why? Why? Why?

My long-suffering optimist must again put a positive spin on this ugly truth about our human condition. Mortals don’t find themselves in situations that allow us to pursue our passions and do the right thing. This is almost as tasty as a donut.

Rest assured that I will do my part. I’m heading to the garden center now—the long way to avoid passing the Krispy Kreme.

Illustrations by Tom Beuerlein

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