My garden is getting there. It still has a way to go, but it is getting there. I can now sit on the porch and enjoy it for what it, even as I’m planning what it will be.
I can also watch as people walk it in different ways. Some stop and look at the plants. Some wander a ways up the paths. Some sneak fruit when they think they’re unseen. Some come to the door and ask about a particular species. The neighbourhood kids come to use the play equipment. The family picks fruit and vegetables.
All these people all walking my garden in their own way, and I love it. That’s what the garden’s for, even when someone steps on a plant by mistake or a kid dislodges a stone from the path. That’s all part of the garden being a place where people walk. I don’t begrudge it.
On the other hand, there are the Saturday night drunks who pull out random plants, break the fencing, and piss on my house.
It doesn’t happen every Saturday, but often enough to sadden me, not just because it’s stupid vandalism or because it means extra work for me, but because it shows they don’t understand a garden except to destroy it. For whatever reason, they aren’t able to walk the garden, only tear it apart, and there is a symbolic level about this that distresses me.
I feel viscerally that their inability to walk the garden is a symptom of things much darker.