Wednesday, March 10, 2010


I'm still planning on posting the fishy sock cable pattern. I just haven't felt like figuring out how to yet. Sorry. It's coming.

Last week I was walking my girl Aussie, the one with two healthy shoulders and way too much energy, and on a whim I crossed to the other side of the street from the one I usually take. What a surprise! In an wide empty space at the top of a little hill, there are large spreading trees and lush grass already, though it is early spring. As I walked along the side of the street, I noticed rows of daffodil sprigs popping up, though there were no sidewalks for them to border. They were perfectly parallel, and occasionally more parallel daffodil rows would wander off to the left at a perfect right angle. I amused myself for a while walking up and down the vestiges of forgotten sidewalks and trying to find bits of foundation where the houses used to be. I imagined the houses, probably like all the other old houses on the street, with little housewives planting daffodil bulbs in the fall, up and down the walk. I imagine they had no idea that their ephimeral flowers would survive their sturdy houses. How surprised they would be to know that the only evidence that their homes were ever there now is the sweet garden they planted.

And yesterday the daffodils began to flower! In a few days the empty hill will be full of a riot of yellow, in perfect rows along forgotten sidewalks. I also pulled out all the bulbs I forgot to plant last fall - daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths and tulips - thinking of putting them in the fridge, to find that many of them had sprouted like onions. I tucked some of them along the front of my house, though the soil is too rocky through most of my yard to allow a shovel to penetrate more than half an inch, threw two hyacinths in pots (ah, the beauty of soil that comes prepackaged at Walmart! Even the noble art of gardening succombs to commercialized lazyness), and, yes, packed up into the fridge the ones that hadn't sprouted too much yet. Many bulbs are still sitting in a basket waiting to have something done with them. Maybe I'll just find lush places here and there in the middle of the yard to plant them. After all, by the time the grass needs to be mowed, the flowers will be finished anyway, right?

I think I will plant bulbs everywhere I live, now that I know how a garden can be longer-lived than a home. As I thought of the thriving gardens that outlived their houses, I remembered one flower from this summer. My husband was showing me where an old house used to stand, right behind one of my favorite restaurants. Local legend said it was haunted, and high school boys used to go in at night for dares. It was abandoned for many years, and finally condemned and demolished. There is no trace of foundation to be found any more. Yet this summer, while we were searching for remnants of the old mansion, we found a single Amaryllis bravely holding its own against the weeds and gravel. The family who last lived in the house over 50 years ago has long been forgotten, and now even the house is gone, but the Amaryllis that once adorned a graceful garden still come up every year. The memory of that gardener will last as long as spring comes to that spot, or at least until the Cafe decides to pave the parking lot. (Sorry, even gardens can't be THAT permanent. Concrete trucks know little of poetry.)

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