September 15, 2009

The changing garden grows.

There is a beautifully written song which entered with the little littles in my life. My friend Ivan made me buy my first Raffi album: Banana Phone. Who would know it included the sweet, poetic loving song? "The Changing Garden of Mr. Bell" is a song about the relationship between two neighbors. I'm moved by the idea of this younger man learning about the older through visits to his home and garden. One of the lines sticks with me. In reply to a direct question about a photograph of the young Mr. Bell with a woman and child, Mr. Bell says, "See how the garden grows. It's always changing every day." For me there's full poetry in the sentence.
I love the literal truth of the changing garden. Since we've inhabited this old house of ours, I've planted, replanted, transplanted, placed, replaced and ultimately loved my garden spaces much. There have been years of more and less attention, a particularly hilarious weeding venture when I was eight or so months pregnant (nesting is not restricted to the indoors), help from friends and family and a year where I learned that winter gardening was a profitable method for working through my dad's passing. When I moved past the trial and error method and studied a little, I began to notice each plant's contribution to the garden through it's timing.  I learned, and left behind the thought that all the joy comes in the springing. I found myself this week waiting and waiting for the sun's move and the blooming of my Japanese Anemones (which are really Chinese). They have finally sent their blooming shoots up and buds are puffing, gestating.
The freesia will soon follow. I was plucking their stems out of the big clay pot they inhabit thinking they were volunteers from the neighbor's many palm trees. Now, I await them. The pointed leaves preceding stems that give way to the dear flowers with the tea-like fragrance. The roses are still prolific and the hollyhock spent.
My friend John, an artist, made a passionate recommendation for my Western Redbud trees when there was space for the planting. He pointed to the beauty they provide each season. The pink buds of Spring, the Summer's green-then-purple seed pods, the leaves turning and dropping in Fall, then the Winter turned-brown pods on the gray of the wood. They are green now, but beginning to hint about the browning to come. All coinciding, all contributing to the changing nature of the changing garden. 
From the literal I'm reminded of the metaphor. Here is where I'm willing to be a bit to be more aware of the wilting and blooming cycles accompanying life's vicissitudes. And perhaps, in this awareness, I can be a little more welcoming of the less productive, less beautiful parts of the cycle and trust the unapparent processes. That which contributes to the changing of the garden.

These are Japanese anemones (Anemone x hybrida) layered in front of Lambs Ear (which loves to run wild in my little front garden patch).

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