Op-Ed: Taking a new leaf out of the good book

Op-Ed: Taking a new leaf out of the good book
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels
A person digging in soil using a garden shovel.

Last Christmas, my daughter in law gave me a beautiful edition of the bible. She was proud to have found it at a local bookstore. I was a little surprised but said all the right things when the wrapping paper fell away.

Thing is, I’m not one for that kind of organized, formalized hocus pocus, but she thought I could use it, seeing as I had been retired for a year, and knew I was spending too much time prowling around the house and yard, acting a little lost, adrift, as my son observed, missing the structure of the office, and the incessant stream of interruptions that come along with being in charge of a public works department for a large municipality.

One of my colleagues, whose own son is a doctor in Vancouver, remarked that my symptoms resembled a mild case of PTSD: sleeplessness, anxiety and the certainty that whatever it was I was doing, it was the wrong thing at the wrong time, leaving my days a procession of exhausted, verging-on-bleak sameness.

So the bible was put into my hands. Out of politeness, I began to thumb through its pages, not sure where to start, or what I was looking for. But after a few days, and a few open-minded hours, the inherent logic and the weight of its observations began to have an impact, maybe not too noticeable to others, but I felt it. So I went back, more and more often, and as spring began, and the lockdown took hold, I found a keener interest in the wisdom and advice in its many chapters.

Then, one day, I took the plunge. I believed with all my being that I could have the rewards promised within its covers. I cleared my calendar- not that there was anything on it- and started at Book I. “In the beginning, the Good Book promised, “start with high-quality seeds, but decide- are you growing indoors or outdoors?”

Sorry, I should have mentioned: my gifted bible is the Cannabis Grow Bible, Third Edition. It came to me at exactly the right time, and, not to put too fine a point on things, it has made all the difference in the quality of life around here, long before there are any results. I was overjoyed when my first seeds germinated. I cleared a sunny, private spot for the plants to grow. I read up on irrigation, fertilizer, pruning, netting and protecting against pests. In the course of the lockdown, the four plants I am legally allowed have grown to eight feet. And with a promising harvest, (when the time is right. I am still reading those chapters) I am amazed how having a hobby has changed the colour and complexion of my days.

Instead of cultivating sourdough or learning another language or writing the next great Canadian novel (did that last year) I am in the garden, checking for spider mites, and watching with great anticipation for signs of bud. It’s the best science project, keeps me off the streets and away from the sins of this COVID world.

Mike Ippen lives in Central Saanich. His new novel, Saint Illuminator’s Daughter, is available on Amazon and Indigo. When not writing, Mike may be spotted in his garden feeding hummingbirds or passing judgement on delinquent squirrels.

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Mike IppenMike Ippen

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