I may have a twenty minute window of opportunity here, before I must leave to drive myself to New Brunswick, for this evening's choir rehearsal. And of course there are about three billion other things I should be doing, instead of using this twenty minute window of opportunity for writing about who knows what. But when have I ever made a wise choice, with regard to using my time?
And, because I can't really luxuriate in any particular topic right now, I want to mention two silly things that have given me unusually pleasant feelings recently. Both these events (?) involve planted things.
Two years ago, when I had my autumn exhibit in the space generously lent to me for the purpose, by Bryan Christie, I had originally intended to use the great empty space (right above the Maplewood Movie Theater marquee, within spitting distance of the train station if you're a really good spitter), as both a construction space and a gallery, but it soon became clear that I would never have enough time and energy to haul everything I would need, out of my basement, pack it into the van, and then haul it all up the stairs in Maplewood, only to have to remove it all again when the work would be shown. So, at first, all I mostly did, those early days in October, was to crank open the windows over the black-topped roof of the marquee, and look out at the trees in the park. There was some detritus on the roof, as will happen, and one of the things I found was a plastic florist's pot, with what looked like a sad onion in it. I stretched a little, to pick it up, and suspected that, at one time, it had been an amaryllis. Whether it was still viable or not remained to be seen. And really, if the only investment necessary is a bit of water from time to time, I was pretty sure I could manage that.
So I brought it home, put some real dirt into the pot, set the bulb-like thing in place, and put it in the sun room, next to another amaryllis I'd inherited from a neighbor. It had died too. I don't so much grow things as I try to resurrect them. Usually, the efforts are what one would expect, if one were to bring a twig into the house and get it to bud, just by sprinkling water on it occasionally.
But in this case, both bulbs proved to be tougher than I would have expected. The one from the movie marquee, which I would have thought had been fried more or less all the way through, sent up green leaves first. Then the other followed suit. And now, much to my everlasting amazement, the marquee bulb has lofted a lovely, mysterious, folded green gesture, at the end of an extending stalk. I just checked -- the flowers are going to be a salmony-red color. How amazing to me.
Likewise, a couple of years ago, a neighbor offered me an old climbing rose that wasn't fitting in with the new garden design. Sure, I said -- I'll just stick it here along the driveway, where there's plenty of light in the afternoon. The long, curved and very thorny stem made a nice rhythmic curve against the neighbor's chain-link fence. I nestled the roots down deep, added a little rose food, tamped the soil back into place, did the watering thing, and went on to other things.
Well, it had apparently failed to make the transition from one side of Sinclair Terrace to the other, because all that year, and all the next, there was nary a sprig of green from where I full well remembered having planted that climbing rose. The long swirly thorn sprig broke off while the squirrels were clambering around. I turned my attention to trying to figure out how to resuscitate a hydrangea I'd moved from the front yard to the back, were it was failing to thrive. I always feel so guilty.
But the third year after being moved, that tough old rose root sent up a little signal -- not dead yet. I was fiercely protective of this, even though I wasn't sure I had correctly identified the leaves. It has taken two more years of this semi-tender-hearted tending, but when last I checked, I saw a little bud on one of this year's new branches -- which means that, unless I run it over with the van, there will be an actual rose blooming where none had been expected, ever again.
This is deeply satisfying. This is almost defiantly gratifying. Now, if only this coming January, when I go to separate the Christmas tree from its plastic stand, I can find the merest hint of root threads from the balsam's trunk, I will be, I think, a truly happy, if somewhat bemused, man.
That's all. Time to go harmonize...
(I'm trying to add the copyright sign, but Google has apparently improved this site, so I can't do that. Don't you love it when things get so much better that they don't work at all?)
Well, anyway, please consider the above content to have been copyrighted by Walter Zimmerman, in the year 2012. And Google? You've got spinach in your teeth.
Walter Zimmerman © 2012