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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Backyard Therapy

I've been spending the last two weeks in battle with computer viruses on my laptop. I have no idea how they got there and I'm doing everything to stop them from recurring, but so far they are winning. The other half of my online time I spend removing unwanted new members from my songwriting forum...they sign up so that they can paste their spam all over my forum for Cialis and Viagra and the like. I've finally figured out how to stop them from registering fully so I can catch them before they start spamming, but I still wake up each morning to about 5 new registrations from these spam idiots. It makes me think, what kind of people would spend all of THEIR time trying to infect my computer or mess up my little, innocent songwriting forum? Really, don't they have something better to do?

It's amazing how all of the decent people in the world can be so overrun by a handful of thugs who just want to entertain themselves, for the most part. Or make some dirty money. I end up spending more time protecting myself from these guys than I do actually writing and doing something productive. That's the real crime.

And speaking of crime, recently there has been a spike in violence between gang members in places close to where I live. Every morning when I wake up and turn on the news, there has been another overnight shooting. I hate to admit it, but as far as I'm concerned if they are all shooting each other I don't care, but if an innocent person gets caught in the middle, that's a different story. And of course, ultimately I'd prefer they just go somewhere else...but that doesn't really solve anything either, does it?

You can't help but think the whole universe is going to pot sometimes when you hear nothing but depressing news, and your laptop keeps coming up with new viruses. So today I put on my old jeans and a sweatshirt and I headed outside into the back yard. I thought "Enough of this, I'm going to hit the dirt." And so I did.

I pulled out my garden tools and my plastic bucket and took a look around. Oh boy. Lots to do. Where to start? I chose the beginning of one of the flower beds and figured I'd just go until some part of my body gave out. It's always a guarantee that's going to happen. Interesting things transpire when you're in the back yard. The first character I met up with was the crow...in the last couple of years whenever I'm out there clearing the weeds or planting something new, he always shows up and waits for me to go off somewhere else before he jumps into the fresh dirt and picks around for worms. At least I think he's the same crow.  He has a look, you know? I recognize him. And he's not particularly afraid of me, just cautious.

Then I heard the persistent "click, click, click" of a hummingbird. It took me awhile to see him, but I think he was actually pissed off at the crow so he hovered around and made his point, and then flew off to somewhere, still clicking.

Bit by bit, I got some of the flower beds cleared out. There's a lot of dead stuff out there this year because we've had a pretty cold winter compared to most years. But it felt good, and my whole attitude started to change. I think gardening, or even just puttering around in the yard, does that. It makes life seem a little simpler somehow.

I think the spammers and the computer hackers and gang members should all spend a little time outdoors doing some yard work. Maybe they'll see that there's more to life than making other people's lives miserable, or killing them. That's what they could be sentenced to when they get caught for their various crimes: hours and hours, weeks and weeks, months and months of gardening.

They'd have to start from scratch and make a vegetable garden or take a little plot and create a succession of beautiful blooms over at least three seasons. They could donate their vegetables to the local food bank and bring the flowers to patients in hospitals. They'd have to get up at the crack of dawn and weed. It's good for the soul.

Maybe I'm expecting too much. But getting out in the garden always does a lot for me, so I think it could do a lot for people who have nothing better to do than make the world miserable. Thank goodness for spring and a little backyard therapy.

IJ