Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury


We have a large walnut tree at the front of our house. When we moved in, about 24 years ago, the tree wasn’t very large: a ‘seat’ formed by two big branches growing in a “Y” shape from the main trunk was almost exactly level with the railing along our front porch. The kids used to take turns sitting on that tree-chair.

Now, of course, that crotch is so high, you can’t reach it.

We used to say that the tree grew so well because we spent so much time out on that porch. We are conversationalists, my husband and I, and likely at any given moment to be talking about almost anything. Some botanists claim if you talk to plants and trees they like that and grow better. Our walnut sure did.

But it’s autumn now and this tree is the first to begin to lose its leaves. It is a long, drawn out process. As soon as the walnuts have formed, the leaves begin, one by one, to turn yellow and then drop. We have raked them all up, twice. There are still enough leaves left on the tree to incite another afternoon of raking.

Once that tree is bare, and the leaves from it raked for the final time, the maples across the street will begin to shed their leaves. Friends, I live in a place where the prevailing winds are not from the west—except, of course, when those darn maples are shedding.

We don’t rake the back yard. That piece of our property is terraced, but not evenly so. I haven’t walked up there myself for a long time, and neither has my husband. We have a neighborhood teenager who cuts the grass for us, so it’s basically not an eye sore. But it is a waste of land, because we don’t use it, and that’s a shame, but unavoidable.

My husband was busy this past long weekend, not only raking the leaves, but cleaning the plants out of the gardens that line our front walk. I was sad to see them go; it was the best year we’d ever had for our little walk-way garden. He did, however, promise me that if we purchased some more bulbs in the next couple of weeks, he would ensure they were planted.

That would be nice as I can’t tell you how many times over the last ten years I’ve bought boxes of spring flower bulbs only to have them languish, and then die.

Not being able to get out and do the gardening myself is something I dearly miss. There’s something to be said for being on your knees and having your hands in the soil. Unfortunately, my knees can no longer perform that function. So I content myself with planting my porch flower boxes than hang from the railing, and others that we have in the back yard, and then getting others to do the in-ground planting for me.

Our petunias, the ones we planted in the planters in the back yard, did wondrously well this past season. They absolutely exploded with blossoms and color. I took time nearly every day to just look at them. It’s good to have things in your life that serve no purpose other than just making you smile when you look at them.

We have a small hill of rocks in the back yard, too, in one corner, atop of which we’ve made a garden. The pile, shaped like a small volcano, stands about four feet high. Backed by fencing on both sides of the corner that stretches another four feet above it, the garden we made there has some of those “solar garden lights” which we have scattered elsewhere, too. This garden was also filled with petunias, Portulaca, and some shade impatiens. Unfortunately that garden didn’t fare as well as the others. It wasn’t the lack of sun, or a lack of water, or even a lack of weeding.

It was a lack of restraint on the part of Tuffy the scruffy puppy, who apparently has found his new favorite thing, and, consequently, his very own theme song: Dean Brody’s “Dirt”.

 

Love,

Morgan





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