Monday, June 30, 2008

Some Days Are Fine, Some A Little Bit Harder

Last night, we were having some steady breezes, easily little gusts without the power to do more than stir the treetops, the leaves' whispers rising and falling in the dark. It's the sort of sound that tells you that there's probably some rain coming...though it continued to not arrive for the longest time. Still the sound of the trees is a soothing one, and the breezes stirred the air and seemed to push away some of the day's humidity, though it was still a warm enough night to sleep atop covers.

Very early this morning, I woke up long enough to realize that soft wooshing sound had changed a little...the difference between leaves rustling and rain washing the leaves of everything in the garden, soaking into the earth, bringing strength to seedlings recently transplanted. It too, was a good sound, and with the cat snuggled against my legs, I settled back against my pillows to sleep a little longer.

When I went out into the garden a little later with my coffee, there was plenty to celebrate. This first snapdragon, which I'd thought to be pink in bud stage, has turned out to be something a little more fiery and exciting.

There are more shasta daisies in bloom each day, and now that the hot magenta lychnis has begun, that's true of them as well. Birds sing, bunnies hop, chipmunks scamper and all seems right with the world.

Of course, that's rarely true, that bit about the world. It's too hot, or there's too much traffic. Loved ones don't necessarily value us the way we hope and probably the same is true of us about them. The almighty dollar turns out to be not nearly as mighty as we'd like. There's too much time to be spent in offices, and well, a thousand other things that just aren't worth going on about.

The garden is my refuge and also my strength, usually giving me smiles enough to get through the day and it teaches me plenty, too.

In the garden, you learn Life isn't always fair. Adorable bunnies have a taste for valuable plants. A plant that is perfect and full of promise one day can be mown down the next by some anonymous insect or accidentally trod upon by some eager pup. Wind can snap lilies or hail pelt your tomato plants. All you can do is clean up the mess, figure out what you can learn from the experience and move on, hoping that next time things might go a little differently.

This weekend I found this pretty eggshell in the vegetable end of the garden, near the bushes where catbirds and house sparrows make their homes. It is, I'm pretty sure, the shell of a catbird egg, and it seems to be empty, so my hope is it was just tossed out during post-fledgling nest cleaning.

While researching to confirm the egg type, though, I did learn that sometimes cowbirds will lay their eggs in catbird nests, and if they manage to replace the catbird's first egg at the same time, the catbird will occasionally be fooled into thinking that its own subsequent eggs are imposters and toss them out of the nest, incubating instead the egg of the cowbird.

You see: Life's just not always fair.

This morning saw the usual examination of things, admiring a strong seedling here, whispering encouragement to others over there, taking another noseful of that heliotrope, yanking out a few tufts of grass, and realizing that once again, it was time to trim the edges of the bed to make it look tidier.

When I was through, I decided to give Granny a call. She's been on my mind always lately, as you can imagine, and I hadn't been able to talk to her in a while. I thought perhaps I could encourage her in her recovery efforts with talk of a thriving garden. And at first, we did just that.

But then something changed, and all of a sudden she was very confused, repeating herself almost endlessly, her words getting mixed up in her sentences, seeming to think for a minute or two that she was talking to someone else. This evening finds her back in the hospital once again, as she may have suffered a worse injury than we'd originally believed. Everything else seems to leave my mind and she is, quite naturally, all I can think about.

One of the many things that she and I talked about the morning before her accident were a set of solar lights shaped like tulips, which she'd recently seen in a catalog. She wanted to know what I thought of them, and of course, I thought they sounded pretty neat. She asked if I'd like them and I said sure, but suggested that perhaps there were other things she ought to be spending her money on (like, in hindsight, rides to the grocery store)instead.

But it turns out that she had her own ideas, as always, and she had either already ordered them for me, or did so when we finished talking that day.

For as I sat by the window this morning, thinking about our confused and unsettling phone call, worrying about her and wishing I could be at her side, even knowing there's nothing much I could do for her, a package arrived with the morning mail, containing a set of those silly solar lights.

I wasted little time in assembling them and then finding them homes within the garden bed, so they could soak up all the sun the day had to offer. They were glowing brightly out there in the garden when I got home from work and I've lit my wee lanterns to add to their light.

Tonight I don't hope to attract the fairy folk, nor am I much in the mood for leaping and dancing. But I hope they add some positive energy to the world, all of which I send in my Granny's direction.

Tonight, the garden is my comfort and I hope, hers, too.


dykewife said...

i'm so sorry your granny isn't well. :( my granny (dad's mom) died when i was around 3 and had been senile a few years before that so i have no memory of her other than she was called granny. interestingly enough, she did have a passing resemblance to irene ryan (granny on the beverly hillbillies).

maybe send her a picture of the lights in your garden?

Birdie said...

Greg, I'm praying for Granny's healing and comfort and for your peace. Bless you both.

Marc said...

The snapdragons are beautiful!

The little solar tulip lights seem to make themselves at home in your beds.

My prayers and thoughts will be with you and your Granny.

Greg said...

Dykewife, I (the oldest grandchild) was born at the height of the "Beverly Hillbillies" popularity, and Granny chose that name to distinguish herself from the other though every other thing about her wasn't already doing that!

I get more than a little of my green thumb from her, so I *am* preparing a big packet of garden photos, including the new lights, to send on to her as encouragement.

Thanks to you, Birdie and Marc for your good thoughts and prayers. They are much appreciated.

MartininBroda said...

Your garden seems to be not only a source of comfort, but also of wisdom, my best thoughts and prayers for you.

Jess said...

Life often isn't fair, but I hope things turn out well this time. I hope your Granny makes a full and speedy recovery and is back to her old self before you know it!

CJ said...

I've had a beautiful time in your garden enjoying all the sights and the music too.
Prayers for your granny(as my mom preferred to be called)and for you as well. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Your post started out with such descriptive details about the trees and their leaves. And then multiple things started to emerge that had me concerned. Starting with, "Loved ones don't necessarily value us the way we hope..." I hope there isn't any falling out situations with family. I also hope and pray that your grandmother recuperates. I saw beauty in that story about the solar lights and then receiving them in the mail. You know who it reminds you of and the memories that you share. May they burn bright.

Sh@ney said...

Sorry to hear of such sad times my friend. I miss my Grandparents, all deceased. So I know how much you cherish them while they are still living. I hope she is going to be OK.

What on earth is a catbird?

Those solar lights are pretty, not silly. I bet they look lovely aglow too!

Try not too worry to much Greg, I know it may be difficult.

Anonymous said...

My grandmother [mom's side] was a huge influence on me as a gardener, and I've been sending her pictures of the work at my place as things progress. She's 94 now, and not nearly as together as we wish she could be.... It's hard to see in person, hard to deal with at a distance -- at least you can talk with your Granny on the phone; my grandmother's hearing aids cause too much interference for any conversation.

I'll be thinking of you and your family, especially as I try to protect the latest set of chrysanthemum and aster cuttings from the ravenous baby bunnies...

Greg said...

Well, thanks, all of you, for your good thoughts, well wishes, prayers and is all most welcome and cherished. Blessings to each of you!

Jess, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if she did!

Martin, the garden provides me with all I hope from it, and even the things I don't realize I need it to give me, too!

Afod, I'm sorry to've misled... everything in the family is quite solid and together, thankfully, but your concern is appreciated. Just culling examples from life of the way things sometimes turn out different than we plan.

Those tulips lights are great to see out there in the dark, to be sure!

Sh@ney, hugs back atcha, my friend. A catbird is a small (@ 3-4 inches) gray bird common around here. They are so named for their most common cry, which is a sort of whiney mayow sort of thing. There's a photo of one at the end of Sunday's post, actually.

Rhet, I am preparing a packet of photos of the garden to send on down to Granny. She's having some disconcerting things (for us and for her) going on with her communications, it seems, but I have faith the sight of so many things she loves on that deep level that we gardeners cherish our plants, will comfort and encourage her.

As for your bunny troubles, have I mentioned Liquid Fence? I really saved me from going all Fudd on their cottony butts. Or plant them some lettuce!!

country girl said...

My thoughts and prayers are with your grandma. I had a wonderful one; I miss her to this day. She could grow anything.

Butch said...

Very sorry to hear that your Grandmother is not doing as well as first expected. It may take her a little while to mend so my thoughts are with her and putting in those tulip lights from her should please her.

lostlandscape said...

My thoughts are with you, and I hope the best for Granny. You clearly care for her deeply, just as she cares for you.

The world can be such an unfair and imbalanced place, even within the garden fences. But there's so much else to see there that's beautiful and reassuring of life's rhythms. Enjoy your quiet time in the garden.

Pink said...

Life isn't fair.

And you know we call this confusion dimensia...and I wonder...are they really just tuning into another dimension that we can't foot foot in another dimension.

I am certain that the other dimension is a wonderous one. I watched my mum stradle the divide and it was frustrating for me, but I know the other place was good.


somewhere joe said...

I've always admired snapdragons and their splashy colors - festive flares.

Your grandmother was prescient to send you the lights for your garden, Greg, even as hers begin to fade a little. A circle of life. And an abiding presence in something that she knows is close to your heart. Grandmothers are like that. Wise. They know.

Sh@ney said...

Oh well they are cute...LOL Catbirds! Just a strange name I guess.