Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Delphiniums - Well-Structured Support

Delphiniums, those glorious petals in a gardner's crown are not easily won. When small they can be devoured in a singl evening by a snail the size of a thumbnail. If they live past infancy, they require considerable water. They must be fertilized and protected from weeds. Once mature they boast such robust blossoms, staking is required. The supports of a delphinium are nothing of which to be ashamed. In fact, the grander the bloom, the more necessary becomes a well-structured support. The density of her blues makes the delphinium unable to stand alone. The weight of such a hue can send her crestfallen into the mud. The very process of lifting a fallen bloom can cause her to snap. A delphinium will grow improperly supported. Its color will be vivid, its scent sweet, its nectar rich. But its petals will be stained with mud.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why the Tree Grew on the Roof

What's not in the picture is Mama. But she's here just beyond the rise. The reason we know this is the shape of the tracks. They go round and round. You see, Mama doesn't like backing up. she said so herself - more than once. And just to make sure we all got it she looped the house in a dirt drive and kept down the weeds by gunning the engine of the old black rumble-seat, taking it for a spin every time her and Pops argued. Their circular rants got to be a habit. Even when Pops wasn't home she'd find herself climbing in behind the wheel and gunning the engine. Next thing she knew she'd be moving with simulated progress even though her forward momentum curved back on itself the moment it could have left the old track. Once she wearied, we'd hear her skid to a halt and yank the protesting emergency brake. Nothing grew where those tires spun and that wasfinewith all of us because we'd already ran out of hose for the plants thriving on the rest of our hill. The daily jaunts around the driveway kept her occupied and unable to stick anymore plants in the ground. Even so, you need to know Mama like we know Mama and once you hear the story about the tree she planted on the roof, you'll know Mama. The idea evolved like this - it happened on the day the old car died of old age but Mama was still young. And it was a hot day and every garden hose was occupied and the white pine she'd purchased on sale at the WalMart in the 5-gal tub was busting out its tin seams. Mama took a look at that hot roof, she knew she could toss a pot of water up there with the muscles she'd developed yanking on that brake - without the hassle of tangled hoses - so she went for it. Gota load of dirt, hauled it up a ladder, one rung at a time, and planted that pine. That's our Mama. We think she's brilliant and now you know she's brilliant too.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Words from a Button

I am a button of bone - hewn from the tibia of a dead donkey, sanded smooth between the thumb and index finger of a woman the age of time. After smoothing me she bore me through with an awl slivered from an anvil of desire. The anchor was imperative. As far as I can gather the woman lived in a world of wind, a turning world - going, spinning unhitched to solitude or contemplation. When she began her threading I was still hot from the piercing but curious about the garment to which I would be married. Would it be a bustled affair, pride-starched and florid, or would it be something hospitable and pattern-free that might give my curves a chance to be seen? The garment surprised us both. She took the skin of a dead jack ass and burnished its hide to a shine, then soaked it in a brine of salted honey, rolled it smooth with almond hulls and ironed it with stones warmed over cedar bark flames. When I first felt the touch of that old jack ass, I thought, Dear Jesus what wonders come from your hand. Look how you've coverted that old beast. And then my throat caught in surprise as I was reminded of that old dry bone from which I impossibly hailed.