Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I consider anticipation to be a loaded word. I suppose most people might think of it in terms of looking forward to something with excitement. And it does often mean just that. For someone like me, though, someone who has a little trouble living in and enjoying the present, it can put one persistently on the edge of her seat. In short, it can make one anxious. It reminds me once again of Tennyson's Ulysses, who, for such a long time, was a bit of a hero to me. "Come, my friends, / 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world," he says. He's primed for adventure. He craves excitement. What's wrong with that?

As I mellow a bit with age, what I find wrong with Ulysses is his restlessness. If he feels that "all experience is an arch wherethrough / Gleams that untraveled world, whose margin fades / for ever and for ever" as he sails toward it, he has to be missing out on the experiences as they come. His fidgeting troubles me, likely because I see some of myself in him.

Here's what anticipation got me this week. I had a reasonably-sized personal watermelon growing in the garden. I thought it was ready. It looked ready. It felt ready. I was altogether too ready, so I picked it. When I cut it open, it was white and smelled of freshly mown grass. Anticipation turned the watermelon into something that I had to chuck into the compost bin.

The unripe personal watermelon

The rest of the vegetable garden is in a similar state of unreadiness, and I've been a little fidgety as a result. But there's too much at stake here, so I have to settle down, enjoy the flowers that every plant seems to be putting on, relish each moment, and wait for the bounty to come.

The lettuce is on the move under the tomatoes

The sugar snap peas are climbing and clinging

The cucumbers are clambering over the
cage I built for them

If I may for just a moment, however, tap into my inner Ulysses, I do want to build some anticipation for a plan that I've hatched. I'm designing an England travel tour for 2014. For those of you who don't know, I have a lot of experience with this. In fact, I developed and led a study abroad tour for my college students. Details will be coming next week, but they will involve both literature and gardens (but no homework). This is something where anticipation will be necessary, though, as the Chelsea Flower Show is on the itinerary, and tickets go on sale for that on 1 December. So if you're interested, drop me a line much sooner than later...

No comments:

Post a Comment