There has got to be a way that everything I have now, can be used to find the answer that I’m looking for…even if it’s the answer to a million more questions.
Yesterday I went out to water my plants for the first time in weeks, maybe even a month. My hosta bed, more commonly known as the floor of the bird feeders, is not faring well. The leaves have tears, holes, browned spots, wilted parts. They are all kissing each other too soon, without the right amount of space to grow. I pulled weeds from around them, clearing water that came to my eyes as I remembered how lush and beautiful they were before I dug them out and brought them with me.
There is a patch of lilies to one side of the house that I had to draw blood for in order to secure them that spot – only to find out that the tree “canopy” provided entirely too much shade, causing each tall stem to lean out in an effort to reach sunlight.
It was a battle I had fought and won on sour terms. Daniel was angry that he had to clear a patch of his groundcover and move it over somewhere else (to another large batch of the same shit).
“We were going to let this all –“
We, who is ‘We’? Right, who it always is. Daniel and the Dead Wife.
It was going to be this beautiful section of plants from my army, strongly displaying my harmonious reign amidst a sea of ‘We’ soldiers. But the sun never shined, there. The lilies all learned out and as I went around the grounds checking on my loyal subjects, they had leaned so far in that one spot that they’d pulled themselves right out of the ground.
They were sideways, uprooted. Drying out, and dying. Just like the chipmunk that laid on the walkway beside them, having been hunted by his indoor-outdoor cat.
I used a spade and tossed the dead chipmunk body in to an island of Daniel’s plants before he could see it and feel bad. I didn’t take the time to bury it, though, and it landed feet-up, contrasted against the black mulch, in the most “ugh I’m so dead” pose one can imagine for a chipmunk to pose for. There was a little of that smell that only comes with rotting and I imagined how much worse a larger corpse must stink – those that have smelled a dead body claim to never forget the smell of death.
Then I grabbed the lilies and quickly assigned them spots by the others, not caring if they were all color coded or in the perfect position. I just had to get them back in the ground and hope that some of them still had enough time in the season to take hold. As I filled in the holes with dirt and pushed the top layer of mulch around them, I apologized.
As if I were addressing the entire outfit after a natural disaster…one I had lead them directly in to.
“I am sorry.”
I could let it all overwinter and as they are coming up next year, move them one more time, likely back to my mother’s, where the soil doesn’t seem to be such an aggressive problem.
“I thought I was bringing us to a better place. I wanted to be Queen. I didn’t anticipate the hazards and we have lost some of you. I do not feel victorious. I will be addressing this, and forming a plan. I fear we may actually be in captivity.”
I kept imagining Daniel with his big fertilizer spike, striking the ground and squirting steroids wherever he could. I never had to fertilize. Never had those sort of plants. Never had city water. Or pine trees littering needles, adding acid to the dirt. I had no idea a place of this size came with so many complications.
He always runs out in the morning to a large garden bed by the road, puts his hands on his hips and stares intently at the thorny roses. His love, his concern. His We. And because I do not approve of a sprinkler system, I will take the hose and thoroughly soak my plants at ground level and he will comment that I only see my plants. That I am “a trip”.
Old women walk by the house and tell him that we have the nicest grounds in the subdivision, that his late wife’s English garden is their favorite garden. There are plants everywhere. Why don’t I feel like I am in paradise?
I feel negativity inside of me. Resentment. Jealousy. Judgement. I continue to come to loathe things I ordinarily might like. I keep saying that I need to respect the grieving process, need to wrap my head around the fact that I moved in before that could even take place…but then what of me? What of me, being who I am, and everything else stifling that?
A single yellow snap dragon has grown out from my hanging basket, a tiny spec of color in his backdrop of ferns. It seemed to speak, “We are still here, your majesty.”
“Thank you” was all I could say.