I COULD be at the Cannes Film Festival, but I am choosing to be in Eichlerland. Moving piles of dirt. One shovel at a time.

In a spontaneous burst of action, I drove up to San Jose to see my brother Ian’s band Pseudotunesmith play at San Francisco’s funked-out Portrero club, Bottom of the Hill. I started a mosh pit, with only my son Roman and my brother’s friend Mike participating. Mosh pit: Party of three? Mosh pits might be a trend of the past, though not dead. I avoided one at all costs at this year’s Coachella; Social Distortion and Red Hot Chili Peppers were pure madness.

Back at the Eichler, I decided to finally get to the pile of dirt my brother had moved a year ago from a plot in front to a huge pile on the lawn. My Dad has been holding on to seeds from 1995, culled from trips with my mother: lupin seeds from Scotland, shamrock seeds from Ireland, wildflowers from Nova Scotia. Gardens take time to plant…and to procrastinate planting. Eighteen years seems about the proper gestation.

So, I got up out of my mom’s chair. Garosh!

When I actually move, I have to trick myself into it before my mind talks me out of it.

Without thinking, I went out practically bra-less, only a shirt wrapped around like a bandeau, capri linen pants that were falling off my hips, and a teal thong sticking out. In mid run to the dirt, I threw off my over-the socks that went flying in the atrium.

Dirt. Shovel. Move. Dirt. Dig. Push.

One by one, the neighbors came out to witness and comment. My mother was a huge gardener. I “garden” as I get the spirit of green moved through me. The dirt. the mud. This sedentary prodigal daughter was in action. The sun beat down. Sweat pouring. Forget the gym.

My Dad was even stirred and came out excitedly once the plot was thickened. We have seeds, he cried! He pulled out his gardening chair– typical Ted Johnson fare – a milk crate, with foam and towels tied on. (If my mom is hot glue, my dad is duct tape, rubber band fortresses, or string) His crate works, and seeing me sweat, he offered it up to me. But it was his throne. It was his time to plant the Shamrocks.

The neighbors then showered us with gardening tips; Sal John offered up tips on loose soil for carrots. Jeannie showed me their garden with Nancy lettuce they’d planned, named and grown in memory of my mom.

After much grunting and hoeing (“This farming is hard work!” my Dad groaned) he declared, we were over this project. Lunch: a Zanotto’s sandwich. Then, a trip to Steve Demkowski’s, the beekeeper who had scraped the bottom of the hive just for my Dad to get the last honey of the season.

Nighttime, my Dad’s favorite. The nights are filled with Charlie Rose, various mysteries, the German channel and updates on the Bundeslega, and my Dad’s weekly dose of K-pop. Maybe North Korea should figure out a new torture – using endless round- the-clocks of K-pop (hits like Lovey Dovey). It certainly could whoop that gang-em style, effectively breaking down all will.

But dirt was moved.

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