Garden Potterer's journal. December
Written and illustrated by: Tiit Kändler
From afar I see the fence rising!
The yard is pleasant – surprisingly enough still quite warm. And so the house is warm too, although the Backyard Potterer hasn’t the energy to heat it particularly much. But beware – already the yard is besieged by the icy cold hand of winter. Not even a proper fence helps against this. Even if it seems that Estonians think differently. Why otherwise do we see irresistible fences built around our yards – however disorderly the yard itself might be.
The fence is the main thing for a backyard Potterer – at least in winter. Even if there is no money or time for other things the fence can and shall be built.
And while you are about it, then better make it visible and definitely different from your neighbour’s. Whether it is higher, lower, crosswise, more red, more yellow, more white, or more black, but the main thing is that the fence must be different.
Walk along a back street once in a while, and do it on a dark December night. And you will see that even if the Backyard Potterers have not found the money to illuminate their houses the fences are all handsomely embraced by floodlights. The fence must be seen, it must be clear: this is my fence and there is none like it on earth.
And the ultimate sum of the fence is of course the gateposts – but this is a topic that is beyond the power of the Backyard Potterer’s pen and needs rather the subtly honed senses of a psychiatrist or at least a wrestling champion’s powerful grip. Although no Estonian gatepost can be just simply grabbed and carried away.
I once had a neighbour whose gate was carried away on a dark night as punishment for some quarrel – from between strong posts! He was a rather frail man, everything imaginable worried him, but this, that his gates were carried away, and from between magnificent posts too, finally broke him. He never recovered from the terrible blow. And did end beyond death’s gates.
But what to do if there is no neighbour on the other side of the fence? Or – woe betide –if the neighbour who lives on the other side of the fence does not have a fence around his yard? Because we still have gruesome beings – may the yard forgive them – who will not build themselves a fence.
In that case the thing should be approached ecologically, from a nature conservation point of view. And a truly aristocratic fence should be built. Because in conservation there is something aristocratic – as already Czesƚaw Miƚosz noted. Really, no country bumpkin would harbour the idea of protecting something as natural as nature! Whatever is there to protect in a tree stump or a grass shred that can’t be put in a pan or sold for its beauty.
That the bumpkins protected some groves – that is of course the brainchild of city people. The bumpkins simply hadn’t the energy to cut down the god-forgotten and overgrown gnarly hunks. An axe is not for wasting!
So a volume of baroque architecture or at least a manual for prison walls should be consulted and directions taken from this lecture.
December 7, morning
Snow, again this snow! It is as if it was here only yesterday and now it is already in place again. The cats have another time reckoning, they walk on the first snow like cats on a hot tin roof. Dangerous! And how does the Backyard Potterer know how a cat on a hot tin roof walks? Well, from seeing a cat cautiously stepping on the first snow.
The Russians have a introductory story to a fairy tale, and it tells about a cat who lived on a high pole. As it was climbing up, it told a fairy tale. What it did on climbing down has been forgotten.
December 7, evening
The Backyard Potterer reads the newspaper and rejoices. He reads that his country is now so advanced that garbage dumps fight over the garbage. Do you see – the dreck and dregs, garbage and rubbish are not enough for all the rubbish tips and incinerators that have been built. The journalist has somehow put a sorrowful aspect on the story. But whyever worry? If there is a shortage of garbage then let us buy some. There can’t be too little rubbish in the world?
And if there is a choice – either to die in the middle of piles of garbage or at the clean and colourful wall of a waste storage facility or incinerator built to EU requirements – who would not choose the latter option?