Here are some happy thoughts for the day:
The sun was out.
It was Margarita:30 around dinnertime, and I managed to finish one before I had to flee the Mexican restaurant with my rambunctious 2-year-old.
My mother bought flowers for me, and I planted them in pots to decorate my back patio; the patio with the giant weed-filled crack running diagonally across; the patio that is usually overrun with tiny plastic replicas of cars, naked and dead Barbie dolls, buckets of various shapes, sizes, colors, and in various stages of disintegration; the patio with the green plastic chairs that were given to us the week we moved in by the Peterson’s across the street as they moved out, and into a retirement home. The chairs each have three holes drilled in the seat, probably by Mr. Peterson himself back in the early 90’s, and some of them have the armrests glued back on with some kind of mismatched brown putty.
The flowers add a certain element to this backyard scene. Today we planted my fiberglass decoratives with purple Petunias, white Lobelia Regatta (which I learned this afternoon means hanging, as opposed to upright), and right in the middle I placed a giant yellow Snapdragon because they are my favorite. I am also partial to Dahlias of any sort because they remind me of a psychedelic, medieval mace, the spiked petals forming a perfect sphere at the top of their long stalks. I like the red ones. If I am lucky some from last year will sprout up, but I am almost certain I saw a squirrel make off with the bulbs sometime last fall.
It is an amazing feat, bringing the back yard to life after the winter. The lawn is still filled with deep divots from the year we had a giant poplar tree cut down. Each time the chainsaw finished a section it would drop down on to the soggy November lawn leaving little reminders. As if we could forget the tallest tree in the neighborhood; the tree that shot branches off like spears every time the wind blew, sometimes sticking so far into the ground and so perfectly straight they could be mistaken for new growth. The stump is still there, as are a few large cross sections that were too big to hack to bits with the axe. All of this rests in a pile that is covered with 4 years of giant zombie weeds that die and come back to life, bigger every year. It has become its own special garden that needs no tending, and every once in a while we offer up gifts to the stump gods in the form of a rotten potato or some half eaten sandwiches. Most of the rest of that enormous poplar tree has been burned in the backyard fire pit, on some of those summer nights I remember from the past when my pots were planted and full, and the patio seemed inviting despite the crack, the toys, the chairs that could fall apart at any moment. Despite, despite.
My mother-in-law is somewhat of a master gardener. As a teacher she has unlimited amounts of time in the summer to tend her flowers, and her gardens are indescriblably beautiful and inviting. If I could sit outside on her patio all summer long with a book in one hand, celebrating Margarita:30 in the other it would be heaven. My pots this afternoon look a little like a kid’s crayon drawing compared to her Monet, but there is something about the garden that makes everything seem nice, contemplative—comfortable.
So each one of my black pots has a circle of flowers now that have yet to reach their potential, but I’m sure it’s going to be good, assuming I remember to water them, and in hopes that Thing Two doesn’t decide to pick off every leaf and petal, presenting them to me as “gifts.”