My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

Beth Kaplan logo

the sweetness of the garden and yet another T@#$#mp rant

Body aches, top to toe, but especially the legs, after two solid days of gardening. My haunches, knees, arms – all hurt. It’s delicious. All in aid of the miracle called the garden.

Where I am right now, drinking a cold beer and meaning to read – am plowing through Leslie Jamison’s book of essays “The Empathy Exams,” and what a powerful, interesting writer she is. But I keep getting up to go check on things, clip a little more here and there, despite my aches and pains.

Yesterday, John and I staked the raspberries and I gave them a talking-to: if they don’t produce substantial fruit this year, they’re outta here. Hours of pruning and staking the whole garden, filling two garbage cans with clippings.

Today, I planted the deck boxes: two types of lettuce, two types of basil and chives, some parsley and dill, and fertilized the gardenia which is ready to bloom, the jasmine, diplodenia, geraniums – all spent the winter in my office and are glad to be released. My new garden helper Richard did the veg garden: eggplant, kale, cukes, cherry tomatoes. Beans and maybe spinach to follow. And then two planter boxes of impatiens, for colour in dark corners.

I do not think of myself as a gardener. I don’t know theory – as I don’t know music theory either, come to think of it. But somehow, this nourishing, heavenly place keeps going, year after year. A young man from the Kim’s plant store on the corner helped me home with heavy bags of fertilizer the other day. We walked through the condo courtyard and up the stairs to the garden door. When he stepped inside, he stopped and blinked. “Wow,” he said. “Wow.”

It’s just not what you expect in the inner city – the length of it, the quiet, the greenness.

Wayson did come yesterday, and so did Sam; he grilled us a meal on the barbie, salmon, many veggies, and pears – he said grilled pears go well with salmon, and we happily took his word for it. Then we watched the end of the “Little Women” series, where I got to weep at the death of Beth all over again – first did so in 1960. Unlike every one of my artsy friends, I did not want to be Jo, the rebel who grew up to be a writer. I wanted to be sweet, loving, self-sacrificial, beautifully dead, and much missed Beth.

Today I took my aching bod to the Y, to sit in the hot tub and the sauna. On the way, I noticed how rude people are, even on a blissfully tranquil national holiday – horns honking, people swearing, not the staid Toronto we used to know. And as ever, I blame Trump for the increasingly rude nastiness of the entire planet. Imagine – people see that you can be an unabashed crook, a despicable human being without a shred of decency or honesty or even sense, and yet not only wheel and deal successfully but assume the most powerful office on earth. Why should we continue to obey social rules, when he has flaunted them all and been rewarded for it?

More beer.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

Some Blogs I Follow

Chris Walks
This blog evolves. It once was about travels. Now it’s a reason to be at the keyboard that I value.


Theresa Kishkan
Theresa Kishkan is a writer living on the Sechelt Peninsula on the west coast of Canada.


I walk on. With my feet, and in my mind as well.


Carrie Snyder
Wherever you’ve come from, wherever you’re going, consider this space a place for reflection and pause.


Juliet in Paris, Spain and Beyond
Juliet is a Canadian who’s lived for decades in Paris and writes about her travels and the many things that interest her.