Because she is nocturnal, gardening at night is her time. She hears only insects, the frogs’ chorus in summertime, the ocean waves always in the background except on the stillest of evenings when the ocean itself seems to be sleeping, too, like the rest of the neighborhood.
Because she lives in a place named in Spanish woods by the sea she feels nestled away from the world. Gardening in daylight invites conversation from nice people but her nature time is time she prefers to have alone. Gardening at night frees her to dress in her raggiest like an old lady with no regard for fashion, which is nothing like her daytime self.
Because gardening at night means tromping about the parts of her yard made visible by the exterior lighting and moonlight, with a garden basket and paper bags she fills with weeds and errant vines. Kneeling on the ground or crawling through the dirt to tend it with her hands, and turning over soil and leaves and mulch is very much a sensuous experience.
Because she’s all about living sensuously these days.
Because gardening at night often means a backyard wood fire for ambiance.
Fires burnt with pinion wood send up such a sweet aroma of woodsmoke that it envelops her when she’s pulling weeds or planting a container of succulents or cultivating the soil in a bed she created years ago. Gardening at night is all awareness of her physical self and what she can create with her gloved hands. And because the pinion woodsmoke is absorbed by her long hair, it’s like perfume to her soul and reminds her later that despite the worries of the day she’s living in place of contentment with her family and her garden with its fire by the sea.
Because gardening at night is quiet, so quiet and still, and she can hear the ocean as though it was just across the street, which it pretty much is. Gardening at night means she can get filthy, crawling on her knees or balancing on her forearms to prune gingers or lop off suckers growing from the ground, before they become more scrub trees that she doesn’t want in her space. Garden dirt mixes with sweat and woodsmoke and she wonders what she really looks like but for once she doesn’t pose for self-portraits.
Gardening dirt is good dirt, sensuous dirt, which along with the woodsmoke from her own fire and salt air and sea breezes and moonlight and humidity are the elements that rouse her spirit. She feels far too awake for 1:30 in the morning.
Gardening at night means she can shake the dirt from her clothes and shower under the open sky. Houses close to the beach often have outdoor showers as hers does; showering outside is sensuous. Showering outside in the rain even more so.
Gardening at night might mean sweeping the curb or pruning the plants in the island on their street where a majestic live oak tree greets her and her neighbors as they come home each day to a landscape that might as well be Hanna Park, albeit with modest homes on lovely tree-canopied lots.
Gardening at night is something she can do all year round if she likes. There is always a time for planting at atlantic beachlife, but there is something about autumn, and even before the autumn becomes chill, but chill doesn’t stop her, that makes her want to be in the night, listening to the surf and spreading mulch by the light of the moon.