Thursday, June 17, 2010

Helen gets schooled on the concept of growing where you're planted

It is getting to be the heart of summer, with birds singing en force and fireflies putting on their unbelievable ancient and electric light shows in the humid night. The flowers are beginning to come up in stages, and I realized I've started to calculate the passage of time by the plants that have come up. Dogwood time is passed, clover time is raging, and tigerlily time has just exploded in orange along the roadsides. I'm hoping this year I can catch them bobbing in the breeze this year.
Perhaps the most surprising thing, though, is the butterfly bush by the front door.
When we first purchased it, it was just a small shrub, maybe a foot and a half. Bob looked at me dubiously when I proclaimed it would get up to 10 feet high by the next year and said "okaaaay...", letting me put it in the ground without much thought.
This year it has put our entire front porch in shade. It is easily 8 feet across and has exceeded 10 feet in height. When it rains the wait curves the branches toward the earth in a semi circle of vibrant green and deep, dark purple.
When I initially planted the poor thing I did my best to amend our horrible clay soil that allows no drainage in the hopes of giving the plant a chance. But after digging down about 9 inches I hit a thick layer of gravel, with even harder clay underneath. I was terrified the bush was doomed to die, and we would never see the butterflies and bees dancing around its blooms.
Obviously I was horribly wrong and a terrible underestimator of plants' desire to stay alive and flourish.
I think what is most awesome -in the true and dictionarial sense of the word- about it is that I took something that was tiny in comparison to myself and put it in the ground. Two years later the thing is huge, and it is definitely established. Unless the next individuals who move in here cut it down, it's here to stay. It can handle rain, snow, drought, blazing heat, wind... and does so with an explosion of blooms each year that screams "NEENER NEENER, is that all ya got?!"
It's amazing. It feeds so many things, and it perfumes the air with the gentle scent so like sweet mead that I stop often just to breathe deeply and smile.
I wonder if they transplant well? If so, I want to take it with us when we finally move.

That brings me to the second focus of these ponderings. Our car was broken in to Monday night at some point. Nothing was taken that we can tell, they were just assholes and dumped the paperwork in the glove compartment shortly before exiting and leaving the car door open so the dome light was probably on. Up until this point we'd never really thought of this place as having security issues. It's a nice place, and when we moved in it had nice people that mostly kept to themselves.
Courtesy of the recession we've seen a turnover in the "flavor" the neighborhood has now. More pitbull owners that let their dogs just shit everywhere. More people who pile 20 in to a house made for 6. More vandalism, more break ins, and in general the place is taking a downward slide. My dislike of the place sort of came to a head when I realized that someone local had to have done this... because the car was in the driveway directly under our office window and right by a streetlamp. Somebody canvasing with half a brain would've avoided the place. So some dickhead, probably a kid, popped in to our car and made a mess of it. And that is now the type of neighborhood I live in.
I was already frustrated with the poor quality linoleum that was peeling up, and the crappy carpet they put in, obviously with the idea that they would be tearing up and replacing it after 2 years because of the usual turnover rate. I'm sick of having to replace every appliance because they put in such low-market crappy things to begin with just to say they had 'em in there on the price tag. I'd been looking forward to getting the hell out of here before the light fixture they've done a crap job if fixing twice now finally crashes down on either my or Bob's head.
After we discussed a few things last night, though, we realized that without significant savings to put towards the house our lives would be miserable and month to month. As badly as I want out of here and in to our own place, it is not to be right now.
There was a moment of despair, sure. I can't paint these walls without being forced to repaint them at the end. I have to caulk the holes for every picture I hang, so we hadn't been hanging that many. We weren't buying furniture because we hadn't anticipated staying here that long. So right now we are jenga'ed in to this place, and though it is definitely home, it still has the look of a way station.
So I was carrying these thoughts in my mind as I came back from the mailbox today and saw the butterfly bush, huge and covered in blooms, I realized that I was sort of missing the important thing; bloom where you're planted, moron. And right now, this is my bed of clay dirt, gravel and potting soil. I'll use this to get big, and when we're finally ready to exit we'll be joyous, dancing, and fully prepared to do it in a healthy fashion. We'll be able to put down roots easily again in new soil.
So I'm going to be content here, in this moment, and I am going to take my hammer and nails and put a ton of holes in the walls to hang artwork. If this is where we are, I'm making this place feel like ours, damnit.

No comments: