Sunday, March 8, 2015

Begging On My Knees

Even the strongest relationships have to dig through rocky ground from time to time, and the bond between my garden and I has been similarly strained to the breaking point.  I admit that I have neglected her over the winter, lavishing my attentions on other interests, and, in turn, she has given me only cold and brief bitter love for the past few months.  She, too, has turned to others, allowing deer to roam over her surface at will, letting pack rats and rabbits nibble her most delicate stems, while showing me only unmade beds and unkept tresses.  Here, in early March, I've experienced weeks of cold beds and stony silence and we are, understandably, no longer on good speaking terms.

Yesterday, I sensed a slight thaw to the distance between us, and I took advantage of the first warm Saturday in eons to shower my darling with attention and patch up our difficulties.  Although my enthusiasm was low, I put on a brave face and began cleaning up the front landscape, removing the blemishes of winter, kneeling at the feet of the Goddess Gaia and freshening her couture.  Out went the flattened peonies, the rattling Babtista seed pods, and the hollow stalks of long deceased lilies.  I wrestled with dead thorns and desiccated clematis, shaped willow and arborvitae, and trimmed iris to flattering fans.

Yet still, beneath the warm mulch, her ground is frozen and hard.  There is little life there, little stirring in her heart.  Oh, a few infant sedums are hiding deep in the mulch and the snow crocus pictured here are trying to lure me back, but Spring is far away and the daffodils have just broken ground and the peonies are absent and tardy.  Other years, I would have been planting seed by now, planning for the ripeness of early June.   This year my garden is making me earn back her love, making me beg for forgiveness, demanding penance for my neglect.

I had a quiet conversation yesterday with  my young, 'Emperor 1' Japanese Maple.  I scratched his bark to its green core and assured myself of his survival, and we agreed between us that the love of a Garden is often fickle and fraught with communication issues and wandering attentions.  Consoled with the companionship of another lucky winter survivor, I put my tools back away, biding my time while her affections thaw, another patient suitor who hopes that time and attention will heal the bonds of love.


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