Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mother as Constant Gardener

The September garden is beautiful.

The autumn clematis overflows the fence in nearly embarrassing abundance, bursting with hordes of delicate white flowers. One clematis explosion pulls down the flimsy wood lattice that strained all summer to support it. I jack the lattice back up against the garage wall, attach it with a rope to a hook under the roofline. The resulting off-kilter mound of plant and wire and thick rope has a butt-ugly shape but the flowers don’t care, jumping onto the rope, continuing to grow wild and fast tendrils, like slow-motion squirrels exploring, swirling toward the roof.

The sedum is a beautiful old-fashioned shade of soft pink; the Bluebeard caryopteris is a riot of bees. We are in recovery from the crispiness and fatigue of August. Freshness and energy fill the air, like spring, but wiser.

That October day four years ago when we first saw our house, when I walked up the stone path curving through the side yard’s woodland garden, I was sold. Something peaceful and expansive in the established beds of green and blossom made me dismiss as minor quirks the house’s cracked foundation, the bowing basement wall, the tilt of the upstairs floors.

“We inherited this garden,” is my reply to compliments about the Eden in our backyard. Someone unseen planned and installed and tended beds on all four sides of the house. Someone planted the roses, the lilac and dogwood and dreamed of seeing them in maturity someday. But that someone moved away and we are left with the blossoms.

I have the same feeling of windfall when I look at my girls. I have to say, “I can’t see it” when people claim to see a resemblance between them and me. Where did these two beauties come from? How did we get so lucky to have them come into our lives? How can we live our lives so to deserve them?

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