Today in the garden, signs of spring!
In no particular order, from the front of the house, there are double Japanese Kerria (clambering up the chestnut tree), cydonia japonica (Japanese quince), a few daffodils that eluded the raspy slug tongues, the russian plum (Komet of Kubansk)… this is the front yard.
In the back, one trillium has a bud (and two more are “up” but not yet producing any buds, let alone flowers), the red huckleberries (vaccinium parvifolium) are lacy with new new leaves and small green berries are already forming — how did I miss their bloom time? I will post pictures of the back yard a little later. For now, we have an early Spring, and (some) planting is going to happen this weekend!
And one picture from no-longer-in-the-garden… few slug-free blooms to brighten our living space!
[Draft One, 12 March 2015]
Did you know that before you were here, another structure inhabited the land?
In the first Act of this land’s existence, there was a deep, varied garden, filled with nut trees and timber trees, with berries, with vines and flowers, and with creatures that depended on them all.
Then silence while the land that had been cleared regrew; Life being such that fire and harvesting do not dissuade the green mantle.
The Second Act began as a new millenium approached. For nearly 15 years, a home lived here.
A smaller structure, true, but one filled with hope and happiness. And, yes, its share of sorrow and worry.
But one filled with life, with the details and baggage of living. The cluttered countertops (no surface was safe!). The muddy steps, both in front and behind.
An entrance door with dents, scuffs and scratches from feet, boots, paws and who-knows-what attempting to get in. Or out.
The front looked out over a rapidly establishing garden with fruit trees and roses, bulbs of various lineages, lilacs and lavenders. The rear entrances referenced but did not invite the back yard, wilder and less-tamed than the front garden (but no less beautiful and in my mind more radiant).
I walked the gardens daily, front and back, when I could. When I couldn’t I watched from the windows as birds and beasts visited and moved on.
I relished the sounds of my children playing, talking and even arguing. Young life, finding its way into the maturity of young adulthood. Some times more gracefully than others.
Life ebbed and flowed in the other house, fortunes waxed and waned, time passed.
And one day, it was gone. For reasons still too painful to reflect on for long, and so I will pass over it except to mention that it was hard. So hard…
We had to leave the garden and the back yard. There was no shelter in between, nor even shelter at a distance, for a while.
But life must needs proceed, and so we planned and worked and toiled and waited until one day we could move back to the land.
Back to the land and into a new structure. A larger, more substantial dwelling, in keeping with our larger, more substantial, mature incomes. A home with a front entrance like a warm embrace, and back doors that beckon to those inside to explore the wonders of the wild unknown.
And yet, with one child grown and gone and the other on the verge of escaping the bonds of childhood, the house that finally has enough storage, fewer drafts, better plumbing…
You are emptier and harder to fill than we expected.
And here is the secret that I will share, the hope and the dream that I have for you.
Where once I wrote to my sons about staying grounded — being at one with the home-as-place; now I write to you, my home-that-is-becoming.
For it is not the structure that matters, nor even the particular shape and content of the landscape that surrounds the structure. What matters is that love lives there.
The dream is that one day, some day (not yet, for I am too young in my maturity), eventually, this house will shelter not only two people who love, but those they love. The children of the next generation. The hopes and dreams of their own parents. A dwelling, however rich and grand, does not become a home until that hope of hospitality permeates every nook and cranny, and, messily and happily, invites the clutter and chaos of friendship and family.
This space between the walls and under the roof, this is a holding zone. A moment in a larger world that waits to welcome life. The things inside are props for the play that is ongoing. Act III is about to begin.
And the trillium are in bud once again…