5 years ago
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Today is daughter Emma's birthday. Her birth was due on Easter Sunday, but she was four days late. According to a Google search, 2011 is the first of only two times between 1875 and 2124 that her birthday will fall on Easter. (The next time she will be 101.) That was a happy Easter, anticipating her birth. Happy Birthday, Emma. Another was the Easter Sunday my family moved from Starkville, Mississippi. After church. Now that was resurrection.
I have been attached to my garden coming into the fullness of its potential. Some sort of wildlife is attached to breakfast in my garden. I have declared war on bunnies at Easter. Now a friend suggests a deer. I am not convinced a deer is negotiating the street, but my friend is right...it's a lot of munching for rabbits, and when the peony provided the meal the other night, I admit to having to look at taller possibilities than the Easter Bunny. I am relating to my mother's ongoing war with deer. Over the years her garden has been more a shrine to deer repellent techniques than to anything else. I may have to learn to go of that attachment to what I want. But not just yet.
"And time remembered is grief forgotten/And frosts are slain and flowers begotten/
And in green underwood and cover/
Blossom by blossom the spring begins." --Swinburne
If you're looking for me, I'm in the garden.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
And then, the tornado trumps the other events of the week.
It is only a moment before I realize it, too, is down. I approach in tears; I stand and sob. Bartholomew is still standing, but his tree is gone and has taken a dogwood and several stones out with it. The storm continued its twisting fury on a path that took it within three blocks of my house.
Perhaps I should have saved the "Sitting Shiva" title for this post. A discriminating rabbit, an undiscriminating tornado. A dead friendship. Things I care about are gone.
I believe that who we are is the result of all our experiences and all our relation-ships. There is no perfect life or perfect garden or perfect relationship. What would it even look like? I don't know. We are learning as we go. For as long as there is life, if we pay attention, we will keep moving forward. Our gardens, our neighborhoods, things and people we love, relationships, our souls will always be subject to invasion. Things go wrong. And things go right. Winston Churchill said, "The maxim 'nothing but perfection' may be spelled 'paralysis.'" I am going to go with that.
This post was going to be about weeds. Perhaps another time. Other invaders got in the path this week.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
There is a pervasive root in my yard that is the orange-yellow color of bailing twine. In some places it is spidery thin and in others it is as big around as my wrist. I don’t know for sure which plant lays claim to it, but I suspect the trailing rose that must have been beautiful on the fence in its day, but now gets no sun. When I pull the root up where I want to convert yard to garden, it often ejects to the point of the spidery network at the end, which, as it comes out of the ground, loosens the soil and provides a good planting place. When I was building the flagstone path at the side of my house--my first garden--it pulled up the sod and made preparing the ground a much easier task. Sometimes, however, I can’t remove it and I have to dig my hole in a different spot and plant around it.
I named the root Audrey, because its omnipresence has been a horror. Later in my garden projects though, I found myself feeling differently about it. The One who is More is a root that runs through my life, providing nourishment and stability, always there whether I want the relationship or not. Sometimes More blocks my way--like when a dysfunctional relationship or activity is feeling too comfortable in its familiarity and I am unable to turn away from it on my own--and makes me change course, turning in a healthier direction. Even when I don’t want to. And More sometimes clears the way for loosening my heart and opening me up to plant something new. Now, when my spade or my trowel comes upon the Audrey root, rather than swearing at it, I thank More for the reminder of the constant presence of love and care. I am never forgotten.
I finished my patio this week; and that is really what has gotten me thinking about roots. There is a root running through it that, unlike Audrey, I was concerned about cutting. I don't want to weaken the big tree that I think it is supporting. Probably it's not of a lot of importance to the tree, being one of many roots, and a relatively small one at that. But who am I to decide what is essential to someone else's survival? And so I determine that it, and a couple of other roots at the edge of the circle, will be part of the design of my patio. Like I have learned to do in my life, I don't even try to plan what it might look like. I will figure it out when I get there.
I ponder, as I lay the 400 donated, recycled, multi-colored bricks, the roots that run through my life. The one with the most girth is change. It is also the one I would have least expected. The first root that comes from a plant is called the radicle. It was my assumption that my radicle would be a life partner and that that relationship would provide the nutrients and the grounding anchor running through the entirety of my life--at least until death did us part. That root was cut off many years ago. But plants have many kinds of roots; and in a diffuse root system, the primary root is not even dominant. (Thank you Wikipedia, for that. Who knew?) I am going out on a limb here and muse that making one person (or one career or one fill-in-the-blank) dominant will weaken the relationship rather than strengthen it. My favorite kind of root (that I just this moment learned of) is the adventitious root. I love the name, sounds like adventure--which is certainly an unexpectedly dominant root in my life. Adventitious roots arise out-of-sequence from the more usual root formation of branches of a primary root, and instead originate from the stem, branches, leaves, or old woody roots. Because I lack the usual primary root, I have grown roots from all parts of my life. Like the nurse logs in the rain forest (fallen, rotting trees from which new trees spring up), the new structures my life are dependent on the foundation provided by fallen structures. I do not discount the importance of that which has gone before.
(Click here for a slideshow of the creation of my patio, Patio Creation.)
Sunday, April 3, 2011
This weekend is the fourth anniversary of the weekend I moved into my not-so-big-house, not knowing that I would begin the project of my life--restoring the garden and, through it, myself. It was Palm Sunday weekend. Lent, a time of sitting Shiva, in a sense. Sitting in the stillness, waiting. Looking toward the death of Christ. Did he know he would be "reborn"? Or only that he would die? I had sat Shiva for two years following the death of a second relationship I thought would be forever. The purchase of this home was the beginning of new life. Perhaps all things have to die--or at least stop moving--before they can be born into new life.
Death and rebirth continue to happen at work. Change. Holes. It is a difficult week. I learn that Mercury (the planet) is in retrograde. I will take that as explanation. It happens three or four times a year, when Mercury slows down; and, in a optical illusion, appears to stop and move backward (retrograde). It is a time, astrologically-speaking, when things tend to go haywire; when big decisions should not be made. Mercury retrograde gives us time to catch up with ourselves, and to look back. Something from the past might return in a different form--people, ideas, or buried insights that need to surface for us to move forward. It can be a contemplative time, a chance to go over old ground again, to claim what you missed the first time. Lent.