Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cool Blues, Waiting for the Storm

So we have a Hurricane on the way.  Irene. Her arms stretch wide: for while her eye remains in North Carolina, slightly over an hour ago the rains began here in northern Delaware.

So we wait. We wait for her torrential rains. We wait for her strong winds. We wait for the predicted flooding. We wait for potential downed power lines and the loss of water supply.

We wait.

The garden seems resigned this morning, though we know that is but an anthropomorphic attribution. More aptly, I am resigned this morning to the potential damage.

A friend from Denver--Michael--wished my garden well this morning; I thought that very sweet and thoughtful of him, especially as the garden is more susceptible to damage than me. And gardens are important (otherwise, why would they have a lineage for nearly the span humans have been on this earth?). And so I began to ponder about the very loss of control we humans actually have when it comes to the most primordial of our lived experience: nature.

Just this week, here in the mid-Atlantic region we experienced an earthquake (a mere tremor those folks on the West Coast would call it), and now we face a hurricane (a very slow moving one at that). My return from 4 weeks in Europe was welcomed with an outbreak of Sclerota Rolfsii, which has nearly claimed the life of one of two Lemon Drop Hostas, and is proving too formidable for a few Sum and Substance Hostas.

We just simply haven't mastered nature, try as we might.

Facebook informs me that us ordinary folk--those not invested in attempting to master nature--are now beginning to engage in binge drinking, parties, family game nights, and other activities.  We find ways to pass the time nature has forced upon us. Yes: nature forces us to break away from the frenetic paces we live and to confront our selves and the company we keep. Time must be lived and experienced, not filled, and that, perhaps, is the greatest fear many people face: the specter of time with its vast nothingness.

Here I sit, staring out onto the garden, prematurely wondering how to redesign and replant it if the neighbor's very diseased maple tree topples, or if Irene claims my own tree, both scenarios of which would render my shade garden a full sun garden. Perhaps it is a mental act of desperation, or perhaps it exemplifies the fear of being confronted with the vast nothingness of time (and potentially empty space for that matter). Perhaps.

Or perhaps it is simply a manifestation of the knowledge that time does not stop, that time continues. Perhaps it is a recognition of the movement of time itself: the primordial law of succession.

Gardening doesn't simply help me fill time: it forces me to feel and experience its inexorable march. So much compressed into a growing season: birth, maturation, decay, death, and the omnipresent hope of renewal. And all of this occurs simultaneously in different parts of the garden. Time is multiple, and multiplies itself. The gardener struggles not simply to keep up and make sense of it all, but to absorb and experience it, and to be at One with time.

Somehow, the predominance of blues and purples in the garden at the moment, ringed with the white lemon-scented flowers of Sum and Substance hostas, just seems to make the thought of loss and destruction all the more bearable, for the law of succession tells me that something will always come after...

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