Friday, April 23, 2021

Making My Way Through Another April Day


To love my garden is to love that elusive something that hovers just out of the
reach of a touch of my fingertips.  It taunts and teases, like an evanescent dream
that is left unfinished when awakened.  It caresses me with the beauty of flora
and fauna, and chokes me with the strangulation of prickly weeds.. It is my 
heaven and definitely my hell, now that I am fading with age.  To escape to 
Neverland is my only wish these days.

Of course life stays the course and tells me I am but a speck of dust on this vast earth that tens of thousands of feet have tread over and flushed off into that vast waste system of unholy water.  What I do matters to me and that must be enough.  What someone else does matters to them.  If ever I felt alone, it is now.

I’m still under the weather from my other half doing some gardening on his own to help me into an early grave.  There he stood with my beautiful uprooted flowers clutched in his burly hands while the weeds stayed mum to escape his grasp.   Sadly, I suppose, I didn’t stay mum.

Otherwise, I’ve been battling a flare up of my pinched hip nerve, and trying to be able to sit through my first and second covid shots.  To remove ibuprofen from my pain killer list was like removing one of my beloved cats from my home.  I’m not doing well these days, and I seem to be crying more than thought possible, sometimes just out of the blue comes a burst of tears.

I push myself, and yet, I seem stuck in place going nowhere.  Going nowhere, nowhere, nowhere.  Time to get up and walk my gardens, noticing every weed I have yet to pull.  So be it.  A walk on the wild side of a wilderness garden lost in the vastness of mowed green suburbia…an eyesore of sorts to all that is civilized.

Virginia Bluebells

 Oriental Bleeding Hearts

Empty seed pods

I think this is a carpet beetle on a fleabane wildflower.

Blackhaw viburnum flowers

Native yellow honeysuckle
This vine struggles in its location, and rewards me with this meager display

Redbud Tree

This German cockroach has a bad reputation of being so good at what he was meant to be.
He's a survivor and yet...he gives one the creeps.

Green bracts on dogwood tree turning white with age

Center of bracts with the tiny white flowers blooming

Playing around -
Dogwood Frost

Monarda bradburiana

'My Beauty' tulips aging

Is this smaller than 1/4th inch insect a fruit fly?

Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium reptans)

Once upon a time in the land of sand and scorpions, I took my first breath, and I haven't stopped breathing since.  The firstborn...I was too soon followed by a brother, and not so soon after by a sister, a brother, and another sister.  In the beginning, we shared everything, including the bedroom.  By the last child, we shared nothing, and dad had almost finished laboriously altering the layout of our living quarters by 100%.

I may be a teeny tiny bit or entirely wrong on the ages, but you'll never here goes.  My thirteenth spring found me sharing a bedroom with my tomboyish sister of seven years, and my parents unplanned bundle of joy of three years old.  It was hell sharing my space with a youngster who slept with a toy football, and a toddler who thought crayons were the next best thing to Santa Claus.  Pleas for my own space were left unheeded by a dad not keen on building a castle.

To understand the reasoning behind my thinking, a small chunk of my earlier childhood must be explored.  My mom was raised in the great outdoors, and she kept it up after marriage by teaching us the good and bad in nature hands on.  By school age we could take care of ourselves.  Many weekends in good weather my brother and I would escape on our own into the desert and canyons surrounding our small desert town.

Sometime in the midst of all this, dad built a small concrete block basement under the house that was open to the crawl space area.  A wood door lay on the concrete porch floor hinged to the wood frame around the opening to the wooden stairs that led into that mysterious cubical of little horrors.  Mom had led me down there once to show me all the treasures she had stored in her mother's bowed top wood trunk.  It was a version of fantasyland in my head with a black widow or cockroach thrown in here and there.

I was a determined pesty kid back then, otherwise, I don't know why in heavens name my parents would have ever let me talk them into making that my bedroom.  Dad moved my bed into that blackhole with a pull string light fixture, along with a small dresser and something to hang my clothes on.  Nothing could touch the walls as a cockroach might climb over the top edge of the room and down the wall into my bed or belongings.  Of course roaches can fly and quite happily race across the floor whenever they feel the urge, but despite my flawed reasoning, I never woke up to one as a bedmate or wearing my clothes.

My escape from an overcrowded bedroom into my underground chambers had its flaws, and quite frankly, it was a bit insane... but no matter how much I might eventually want to rethink my decision, there was always another person inside 
me egging me onward with my quest.  The underground was refreshingly cool during the hot days, and downright cold during the desert nights.  An electric blanket joined me with its lifeline attached to an extension cord to the upper world.

School began in early September and I had gotten quite used to the cat boxing matches frequently occurring on my dudgeon door, and the whispers of the night breathing heavily as they snaked their way down those dark ghostly stairs.  If I had been comfortable wearing my school clothes and shoes and coat for bedtime, I might have been able to last that winter in my frozen underworld... but alas, dad trudged all my belongings back upstairs when snow began to fall.

While I may have talked myself into a corner with nowhere to go with this quirky tale, perhaps this experience is why I say I will try almost anything once, AND I do try almost anything once.  Curiosity is the doorway to wonders whose tales one might be enticed to share in their future.  And as far as basement living is concerned, once was satisfaction enough.

Tiny flower from the weed patch

Large flowered bellwort

Large flower clematis opening up

Wild geranium flowers aging.

Dandelion in full bloom

Dandelion going to seed...

A snack gone so terribly wrong, 
when I forgot it was in the oven while writing.
Can you guess what it is?  *

'My Mary' azalea

Wild Hyacinth

Native columbine 

A new veggie in the raised bed

Robin's plantain

Coral berry stem with berries drying out

Iris with grape soda pop fragrance

Through the front window

Cut-leaved Crane's-bill geranium with its tiny flower.

Lovely clematis bloom...whose name is no longer in my memory

Aggressive non native strawberry pretender with no flavor

There's a rabbit somewhere below

I think this is a small carpenter bee of the genus Ceratina, 
about 3/8 inch long,  
on a zizia aurea golden alexander plant.

A cool breeze in my little Eden today as I walk the grounds on my dog Dustin's potty break.  Street traffic is minimal, and to breathe in that fresh air sends my mind into a state of sublime euphoria that eludes me in my home.  I'm too old to take care of this jungle of loveliness these days, and yet I still try.  It will be the death of me.

The chickadees nested early, and their youngsters escape from the bird box into the gardens and beyond was missed.  However I didn't miss their frantic chatter as I spied that dirty orange tomcat with a stub tail stalking them from my wood fence rail.  He ran when the hose water arched his way, but he may have gotten his meal anyway.

Thirty years ago we dug out an earthen pond in the clay soil down to the shallow bedrock.  It became so alive with life that changed over the years.  Plants grew in and around the pond with no boundaries to the surround gardens.  It was a burden as I grew old, and with a heavy heart I chose to fill it in and changed its status to a rain garden.  My ash tree has suffered since, and this year is an experiment to see if the removal of the pond has stressed its need for moisture, even though the ash tree was way before the pond ever existed.

My arborist suggested the area needed more water, so the rain garden is often saturated with the garden hose to hopefully save such a beautiful giant of a tree.  We have it treated every other year to hopefully save it from the emerald ash borer, as it is the mainstay of our back yard.  Without it most of my shade garden would suffer irreplaceable damage.

This gathering of subtle native greenery is family.  In its infancy I raised it with all the knowledge I could gather from books and classes as a master gardener.  I shielded them from the bad guys, and provided them with all the support I could muster up while still living an active lifestyle and working a steady job.  Now they are pretty much on their own.  Hopefully, I raised them well.

I'm quite happy, as I am today, to finish off my garden rounds by opening my sliding glass doors and pulling the screen door closed.  Cool fresh air weaves its way through the furniture and rooms, as I sit and enjoy the rapture of bird songs filling the dining room's space until the heater turns on.  Heater ignored... sipping on a cup of hot tea and nibbling a square of Ghirardelli dark chocolate is the crowning touch of my heaven this morning.  What is yours?

Lacey doing what Lacey does best.

Mystery snack is a tortilla with grated cheese on top

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