2023-11-06 - 10:05 p.m.
I just had a memory
As last wrote
Finished planting bulbs
I bought hundreds of blue narcissus bulbs once
and planted them in a design of a ribbon
in the ground
which was found
in the middle of the ruins
where the Lord of the Manor
after the rest of us
I never knew if they grew.
This memory did not unearth itself from my brain
until the typing of the words tonight
that I finished planting the bulbs
I had said today
I want to put something else in the ground
I feel like there should be daffodils
Something other than only the blue , grape hyacinth which I had bought and filled my front garden plot with.
It felt funny to have only that one flower. Yet I had bought a bag full of these bulbs, 60 of them
and my plot next to my walk is small.
I am on a limited budget and thought
"I don't want to spend any more money"
and then thought
Maybe it will be really beautiful,
the concentration of the blue flowers coming up en mass!
I also thought, maybe some of the existing bulbs still in the ground will also have daffodils emerge from them again this year, with dainty pink soft edges on the blushing pale whitish petals
which I planted a couple years ago.
Part of me now thinks
How wonderful , that even if the daffodils don't emerge
The swath of blue flowers
will be joyful
and not in a shape of a ribbon reminding of violence.
But simply there because I thought them pretty and was excited thinking
"I love hyacinths
They are one of my favorite early spring flowers so I want alot of them this year!"
It was a distant memory
so distant I almost wondered if it could have been a dream
then I remembered the walking through the threshold of the stone doorway
through the corridor to the courtyard, surrounded by the stone walls and windowless framed out arches where the light came in.
I even moved an apple tree into that space.
I built a secret garden out of what looked like ruins.
An unfinished space.
I never did ask my kids if any of the flowers bloomed. I remember planting hundreds of bulbs there.
It was this defiance that I was determined to create something of beauty in that space
I did not want the last actions to be of ugliness in my memory of time there.
The child who went off to college is the one I remember helped me with the planting on one occasion. Simply as she was the one who was awake. I suppose this memory is one that reminds me that she did not always stay asleep after the others had entered dreamland.
She was the one who work in early morning and started to bake a cake, climbing on the kitchen counter from a chair and pulling out the flour and sugar.
At age 3.
She was precocious and excited about life and smart and exploratory.
And she was my helper who found it fun to have built our own secret garden.
This late Fall, I put in the grape hyacinth and also a half dozen large Giant Hyacinth surrounding the crab apple tree that sits , crooked, propped up by two stakes I fought with, pounding into the ground and twine that I yanked and pulled and tried to best tighten to support the tree, propped up by gravel in the front to try to weigh it down and prevent further toppling after it had been uprighted again.
Two years ago a wind storm snapped one of the main roots of this little flowering crabapple tree.
I have been so insistent on its care and rehabilitation, reluctant to let it go.
It was late November,
I think I remember the date-
when the tree snapped in the wind of a stormy night.
Perhaps it was the 17th, but it was the 18th, the next day, and a particularly cold one, when I was inordinately and seemingly irrationally completely obsessed and driven to save this tree and dug for hours to first unearth it completely freeing its roots, to assess damage, then while it sat there digging the ground under it for hours until I had a hole receding deep enough to LOWER the once poorly planted tree , properly!
The root ball had been ABOVE ground- far above where optimal for health and longevity! It was no wonder the tree snapped, as it was not planted deep enough.
I recall having worked my hands raw that night, wearing layers of gloves, and changing them as recall it was unseasonably cold. So cold in November that it felt like snow, or ice could be forthcoming any moment.
The tree was saved! I did it- with this almost otherworldly strength in the moment of absolute obsession.
I was exhausted, but happy when it was clear the tree had survived over the following days, then weeks.
I took a photo of the tree the night I proudly saved it ugly fat yellow plastic twine wrapped around its trunk pulling its weight to be supported by two very large and rather wide wood stakes. They were the ugliest things, but I found them beautiful in the moment of their utility, and support of the crab apple tree which each Spring burst with its pink flowers.
I took another after I decorated its then thin looking frail branches with Christmas lights, all small blue.
I ordered two metal decorative , tall , painted Nutcracker like soldiers, which had stakes to put in the ground, you can envision them I am sure, who stood guard at our front yard by the tree and covered the view of the ugly wood posts, with their festive holiday presence.
Once during the following year, a wind storm again took the tree down! I went to the hardware store and bought better stakes, removed the ugly wood ones and put in harder plastic ones, which I hammered into the ground.
Again a year later, I proudly took a photo of my lit Christmas tree, the nutcracker soldiers again adorning it along with lights that this year were green, and either solid or twinkled, fast or slow depending on the chosen desired effect as chosen by a remote control from inside looking out at their spectacular, glorious celebration. I accidentally had ordered two sets of lights the year before and realized I really did not have room for more than one. Fortunately, even though the electric plug somehow got broken and snapped off the blue light string used the first year, I had the second set ready to go the second year!
This year, another storm has come and knocked the tree over. It is sideways, but as it was in full flowing glory at the time- with fragrant blossoms all over, I did not want to disturb it. The tree has sat crooked since this Spring. The crown of it faces front, and reaches just to the edge of the lawn, although it may be peeking over the sidewalk now. I was surprised the HOA never said a peep about the crooked tree, bending forward like an old lady, head lowered with its crown for all to see, white, no longer the pink of its youth, body misshapen and full of gnarled knots. The flowers were all white this year, like the greying of the old ladies, just touches of color, a blue hue.
As I cleared the ground and pulled out the dead branches and leaves, and grass and weeds to reveal the dirt of the garden plot underneath, I noticed one stray crabapple which landed in the garden plot. I carefully plucked it out thinking "I don't want that laying there, rooting and growing a new tree there."
No, not in my garden plot where the glorious swath of blue grape hyacinth are going to burst forth. Not where there also will emerge later some of the happy, blushing pink daffodils- so unique, not the typical bright yellow which I am happy some of still pop up each year next door where I helped a friend and her son plant them over a half dozen years ago now.
And I think of that boy, and my boy
my oldest boy
who once had such joy climbing a crab apple tree
The tree that was yanked out of the ground
the ground which was not where the new foundation was mapped out to be-
but yards away. The new walls did not even come that close to it. It had stood rather far from the edge of the construction zone, which became like long lost remains of an old ruin, after the work was stopped and unfinished, all left the stone of the walls and towering arches where windows would eventually sit.
I remember the joy my boy had when climbing that tree.
And the sadness as it was so brutally removed, chopped down and destroyed.
The tears at his beloved tree being killed.
So I understand my resolve, which that cold November day seemed almost insane, as for hours I dug and dug and dug, to resettle this crabapple into a hole that was big enough for it to be grounded, secure and steady
with a bit of additional support it needed
to stay upright and alive.
I get it
why I find it so hard to consider removal of this tree.
I felt of late I am ready to accept its fate. I am ready to let it die as it has been a graceful hospice care given to it, that is if it is the tree's time.
it still bloomed so beautifully even when crooked.
I was thinking perhaps I could call the arborist, there are a few good ones in the area, and ask their view.
But then just a couple days ago my youngest said to me "Let's just dig a hole and fix the tree. Lets lower it and stake it better"
and I was encouraged .
I said that I did not think she knew how much work that was. We were not up for it.
She said she wanted to
and I said, pragmatically "let's see.Let's get the bulbs in and see what energy we have left."
I am overjoyed that after I got most of the bulbs in, on Sunday my boyfriend took me shopping to the local garden center where I bought potting soil, this time infused with nutrients for my tired back yard plot, to feed the bulbs my daughter and I planted there. We had spent Saturday morning clearing the backyard beds and putting in tulips and a hibiscus, and some bleeding hearts. We got tired. Some of the bulbs were not planted as deep as I know they should be. I said "We can do what we can. I know the cheater method- I will just buy potting soil and put a blanket of it over this so then they will be deep enough."
When too darn tired to dig any deeper.
We hit our limit after just a couple of hours of that cleaning of the back yard and planting of those bulbs. There was no way we could dig that tree out and make it deeper.
I told my daughter "The tree is deep enough, it just needs to be straightened upright again and re-staked, with stronger stakes- as see these got bent in the wind when a storm came through again."
I should have done it right when it got knocked down again. It may have grown where it landed and set new roots and might be more affixed in the sideways position now and even harder to readjust and move!
I could also just prune it, while it grows sideways, crooked. Use a carful pruning and shaping and make it look more upright in illusion- by how trim its branches and crown.
I am not yet sure. I thought perhaps I could let it go, that I am feeling not too attached anymore to it.
BUT... when I remembered the blue flowers planted en masse
and thought then of how just days ago I was hopeful that this tree would still be pretty this Spring, but that in winter it loses leaves and flowers and is all twigs SO there should be ENOUGH sun to get through its branches to its base-
and I felt that despite being crooked, that around its base was STILL the perfect spot for the Giant hyacinth-
I thought of how, it seemed silly in a way , yet I chose that tree to surround with the blue flowers at its base...
and I thought how YES this tree will definately last yet another season.
It will be there this Spring in celebration and joy
as the giant hyacinth emerge and pop up and dance in the wind at its feet
celebrating their freedom
and their blossoming and growing
in this space in this home
where there is peace
YES there is finally peace.
and the violence, a distant memory
so distant that even the act of standing against it
in creating the blue ribbon
was a faint memory
itself almost forgotten
such that if felt at first upon remembering , dream like
There is joy in that forgetting
That such forgetting can happen
and that such remembering is as if of a distant dream
it means the nightmare is over
and the healing complete
It is possible
that once you forgive
you will also