“But if, in our world, there is any chance of becoming the person you haven’t yet become… will I know how to seize that chance, turn my life into a garden that will be completely different from my forebears?”
Muriel Barbery, “The Elegance of the Hedgehog”
Seasonal change is in the air, and something about autumn makes me think of life changes. Sitting on the porch with my morning coffee, my eyes keep drifting from my book to the yard, momentarily empty of birds. Our regular summer residents have left, presumably to move farther south. The inhabitants from the north who winter here have yet to arrive. It feels like my imagination and I have the garden to ourselves.
Breathing in crisp morning air, I imagine that I have been kissed by a radioactive frog, and to my surprise, instead of turning him into a prince, the kiss confers certain super powers upon me. At this moment, I have the power to become the person I haven’t yet become…
Suppose I had the power to cure everyone of all intolerance - including even lactose intolerance? Suppose I could make even terrible porn movies have interesting and engaging plots? What if I could free the world from the chains of male pattern baldness, say, or eliminate luminescent golf pants and make horrible plaids work together? What if my superpowers include the ability to raise the minimum wage in a single bound, repair potholes with a cute wrinkle of my nose, or assure that every opera ever sung will include a fat lady singing the final aria?
My reverie is disturbed by the vocal whining of my darling cat, who has discovered the injustice of me sitting outside in the sun while she languishes behind the screen – abandoned and alone. What kind of superhero would I be if, despite all my special new powers, I neglected the spoiled brat on the other side of the screen?
And sure enough, after correcting this injustice, with me on one chair and the cat settled on to the other in the sunshine, the world seems to spin smoother on its axis. I make a solemn pledge to use my superpowers only for good – whatever my powers may turn out to be, and whatever the hell “good” is. While I fully intend to maintain my secret identity as a mild mannered housewife with a gardening blog, I recognize that with great power comes great responsibility. Whatever I have become, I resolve to turn my life - and my garden - into something completely different.