Though I am basically an optimist, I worry about creeping disfunctionality. Contracting issues are driving me crazy at two of my gardens.The huge construction project in Fern Valley has been essentially complete for months and months. There have been a couple of days of trivial "punch list" items that had to be completed....for the past three or four months and yet as we enter the heart of spring, the garden remains closed. The contractor seems to feel no pressing need, despite the state of the economy, (I assume they don't get paid until they finish) to complete the job. Likewise, we seem to feel no need to pressure them. The process that exists to protect us has stolen a spring. The Cherry trees are blooming now; I am put in mind of A. E. Housman, so seasonably appropriate, None of our lives are long enough that we have any springs to waste.
At the Beltsville Library, I am again frustrated by government contracting. There is no water in the Courtyard Garden so watering it requires dragging 300 feet of hose out of a trebly locked area, hooking it up, having the water turned on, and pulling the hose to the garden. And of course, the whole process then has to be reversed. The Friends of the Beltsville Library offered to pay for the installation of a keyed water valve in the courtyard...it has been almost a year with no action. I am sure that there is some plumber or contractor who could use the money from this job. It would certainly benefit the economy. The money is better off in action than in the Friend's bank account....no action. The President is hard at work trying to make these sorts of projects happen and it is frustrating to think that our own County is not with the program.
I understand that these systems and regulations are a set of controls designed to protect us from potential abuses, but at some point the waste and indifference seem to overbalance the protection. The Halliburtons of the world will find a way to get our money anyway and I just get old faster dragging hose needlessly. I realized recently that life is a zero-sum-game in the sense that we have only a finite amount of work we can do in our lives. It seems like a waste to use it on things like dragging hose that needn't be dragged. Still....it's good to be a gardener.