Gardening is a good way to lift spirits and pull together as a community. (Photo: Sutterstock).


By Mary Lynn Bruny

Given the surreal state of our world, I cannot be more grateful that spring is here. Spring has not heard of the worldwide pandemic, sheltering in place or social distancing, and is insisting on showing up anywhere and everywhere in bunches of riotous bursts.

This all means it’s time to get gardening! Yippee! As the saying goes, “Gardeners love doing it in the dirt,” and I am proof of this adage. I’m pretty happy if by the end of the day I’m fairly covered in mud.

Always first up, the pesky weeds have started to show up in mass. I’ve never understood where all these tenacious dudes come from. It’s like a nasty weed fairy gleefully and spitefully sprinkles seeds from lands far, far away, like from that one ratty rental up the street. I think pulling these little suckers this spring will be especially fulfilling. You know, “flattening the weed curve” early.

Obviously, it’s way different gardening this season. Most gardeners love to chat with other gardeners about, of course, gardening. My husband and I live on a corner, and usually people will stop by when I’m out working. I count on a 30 percent yammer time to 70 percent lackadaisical work period. It’s a good ratio for a semi-lazy, semi-social person. But no more of this. Now when people see me working in the front yard, they quickly scuttle across the street like, well, like I have the plague.

The squirrels however, like some CU students on the hill, have not heard of the virus and are out in full force. We have one squirrel that seems to be our main backyard guy; we call him “Little Dude” as he’s a skinny, wee thing. He likes to watch me, and I like to watch him. He has absolutely no fear of me, and is not adhering to social distancing guidelines. I’m happy just to look into the eyes of another living being, beady as they are.

He is frenetically digging here and there in our yard and beds, perhaps searching for things he buried last fall. (Reminds me a bit of my husband looking for his car keys that “someone else” has always put somewhere, like the pockets of the pants he wore yesterday. So very sneaky.)

After finishing up yard work the other day I was sitting in a lawn chair watching Little Dude hang upside down from a branch to reach a dried up crabapple – an amazing acrobatic feat – and thought, this is the good life: dirt on my knees and a cold beer in the afternoon while watching a very flexible squirrel perform death-defying stunts. COVID-19 hasn’t wiped out all the joys in life.

By Mary Lynn Bruny. Mary Lynn is a Boulder freelance writer. Contact her at [email protected].