|Before, from the study|
It all began with a rose.
The garden just beyond the morning room windows was teaming with plant life, intended and otherwise. I gazed many times upon the plants and weeds, wondering which was which, but was too busy to get my gloves and boots on and haul myself outdoors. After all, there were still boxes to unpack, furniture to arrange, and laundry to be washed, folded, and ironed.
The point is that weeding that garden was on the To-Do list, but way at the bottom. And well, I like to think that green is green, and flowers are flowers.
And then I noticed a pink flower. It was a rosebud. I thought, I would love to smell that rose. After all, Country Kitty wouldn't have planted a modern rose that smells only of the pesticides and fertilizers required to keep it alive. I decided to go take a look.
The path was no more. There was waist-high grass and weeds, and some odd flowering plants that were eye-level. I had no idea what they were, but they were keeping me from the rose. Defeated, I walked away. That rose preyed on my mind, however. What would it smell like? What would it look like when it opened? Would it hang around for awhile?
That evening, at dinner, we repeated the increasingly familiar pattern of my son talking too much to eat the food while it was still warm, and then refusing to eat. It is frustrating, and nothing seems to avoid it other than giving him pizza or hot dogs or hamburgers. Which I refuse to cook special for him. So, I was getting increasingly impatient; and, I happened to look over his shoulder and see the pink rosebud peeping through the weeds.
I stood up, and calmly excused myself. I put away my dinner things, stepped into my garden shoes, pulled on my hat and garden gloves, and blundered in.
I steadily filled a garden waste barrel with clover, various weed grasses, and creeping vines. I cleared area in the dirt around the peonies, the lilies, and the pond grasses. I yanked all sorts of dandelions and crab grasses from the stone path. It took me forty-five minutes to make the approach to the bush. I was too tired and sweaty to remember to sniff the rosebud.
Two more weeding sessions. I had decided that I would clear the entire garden before I enjoyed that rose. I made four trips to the compost heap. I discovered that the eye level plant really was an evil weed whose flowers were about to burst like tiny dandelions. I dodged spider webs, crawling beetles, and about seventy-two thousand gnats. I surprised the frogs as I cleared around the pond. I caught a glimpse, after one of the weeding sessions, of a chipmunk exiting the cleared area, his cheeks bulging with seeds. I replanted the few bulbs I accidentally pulled up, and I mourned the single paper lantern that I unceremoniously yanked out from behind a stone urn, not recognizing what it was before I pulled.
I collected my gardening tools, and the few straggles of weeds already drying sadly in the sunlight that I'd missed when clearing the debris. I made my approach to that glorious pink rosebud which was on the verge of spreading the top petals by now. I moved closer, breathing the heady aroma of a real rose. My nose touched the silky petal. I inhaled deeply.
And then I sniffed a gnat up my nose.
I think the hummingbirds are bloody lucky that their nostrils are so small.