Very early last Thursday morning, at about 2:00 a.m., I saw my garden from a whole new perspective. I was wheeled out, backwards, on a gurney. Joe decided to call the ambulance when I told him that I felt pressure on my chest and had difficulty breathing. As a heart patient with 13 stents, that is definitely a scary feeling.
The good news in all this is that I am feeling better, although I am still in the hospital. My heart is strong, but the doctors do not understand how my healthy liver produced enough enzymes to prevent my blood from coagulating. So I am closely monitored and feeling antsy. Joe brought up the laptop, and here I sit. Writing.
It’s been kind of strange the past few days, to be in this hospital room and not be able to walk around the garden, upload photos, update this blog, and visit the sites of so many people I have met through this exercise. How have I passed the time, you ask?
Each time I turn on the tv in my room, it goes to the Relaxation Channel. It’s a lot of new age music and footage of nature and seasons. Flowers blooming. Leaves blowing and changing colors. Water rippling. The first snowflakes falling. This did nothing to relax me. In fact, it reminded me of a scene from the classic sci-fi film Soylent Green, which takes place in a future, over-populated, over-polluted America and where green has nothing to do with gardening. In one scene, Edward G. Robinson checks himself into a euthanasia clinic, where he is placed on a bed and shown images similar to those on the Relaxation Channel as he sleeps into the sweet hereafter. Not something I should be watching from my hospital bed!
I then turn to the Food Network, becoming hooked on the show “Chopped.” If you’re not familiar with this show, it’s like a “Beat the Clock” for chefs. They must prepare an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert — all using surprise ingredients — for a panel of celebrity chefs. I am glad the nurse is not taking my blood pressure when the host yells, “Chefs, one minute remains” and they have not even begun to plate. Again, not something to watch a lot of as I recuperate.
So I change the channel to HGTV — usually watching “House Hunters International,” mostly because I like looking at the gardens of the properties up for sale — which reminds me, what happened to the “G” in HGTV? The channel is full of decorating and home buying shows — but what about the outside? There is “Yard Crashers,” but that has way too much banter and ends up not telling me enough. (Although, I must admit, I was intrigued by the weather station that attaches to your roof and regulates your in-ground sprinkler.) One of my favorite shows from HGTV-past was “A Gardener’s Diary,” in which host Erica Glasener introduced viewers to gardeners and their gardens. As she and the guest strolled through the garden, it was personal, informative, and passionate. That’s the calming effect I need.
Ultimately, I found gardening Zen in two places. The first is an article in today’s New York Times. It tells the story of Ed Toth, who works for the New York City Parks Department. He’s on a seed-gathering mission of native New Yorker grasses and wildflowers. Fascinating stuff, and a mission that is truly admirable and necessary. My second meditative moment is a video e-mailed to me by my dear friend Maria. The Life of Flowers reminds us of the wonders of gardening and the ensuing peace — much if it the result of what we do not see. And it’s what we do not see, from liver enzymes to buds bursting open, that can make all the difference.