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Memory Gardening

Today I attacked the garden, or rather it attacked me, based on the scratches and abrasions my arms and legs incurred. My garden has been embarrassingly ignored over the last few years and it has become a veritable jungle. I told my friend Mark, that I would need a machete (has to be said like they say it in the movie “Machete”) to get through the undergrowth. With a 3 day weekend ahead of me, the last 3 day weekend of the summer, I felt like I actually had time to tackle the garden, section by section. The temperatures have dropped this weekend and the highs are only supposed to be in the mid-80s – like my husband says – its Hawaii weather – perfect gardening weather.

In digging through the garden, I came across some very interesting things. Things that have been there for several years. That’s really why I am writing this post, to tell you about these things I found. I am not going to bore you with my gardening prowess – which is basically non-existent through lack of motivation.

My neglected garden.  Is a Sequoia somewhere in there?

I trimmed the Sequoia, which has sadly suffered this year because of the drought. In cutting the dead limbs that I could reach, I discovered an arrow that had been skillfully shot through one of the branches. In my mind’s eye, I went back to the year my youngest believed he could be an Archer of the utmost magnitude. This was the year when he and his brother were playing “Oblivion” (the video game set in the awesome era of Knights, Archers and Dragons) – where all the boys talked about was Wolf Bane, Foxglove, armor, enchantments and of course, Nirnroot (most necessary for making potions). My youngest wanted a bow and arrow set so badly, and we argued, well, maybe discussed the pros and cons of a 12-year-old having access to a really pokey weapon. In the end he won. He spent hours out in the backyard shooting arrows off. I spent hours yanking errant arrows out of my trees and shrubs.

During the Archer era of my youngest son’s life we also had a trampoline (another item of potential destruction that I fought valiantly against – but lost) and I distinctly remember, the looming monstrosity blocking the view of my flower bed with the lavender roses and the Four O’clocks. That used to irritate me so much. I recall the boys getting on the trampoline and practicing their Ninja moves while bouncing at ridiculously scary heights. I’d watch them from the kitchen window, and just hold my breath knowing that someone was undoubtedly going to suffer a fracture. Then I would have to take them in to the ER at the hospital where I worked Pediatric Surgery and Trauma, and I envisioned having to explain why I, who knew better, allowed my children to bounce on an evil trampoline. Luckily, none of that ever happened.

Further along, in my quest to tame the jungle, I uncovered a long forgotten water polo ball which had become completely entangled in an overgrown asparagus fern. It took some real diligence to extricate it from the fern. As I finally pulled it from the green, spiny cage in which it had been encased, I heard the echoes of the boys laughter and the splashing of the pool water in my head. Holding the ball in my hands, I remembered the years of water polo; the hauling them back and forth to practices, the trips to other schools for games and tournaments, the exhilaration of watching the boys make a goal. I could hear the friendly insults when all the boys were over, splashing in the pool, the tsunami of water rolling out of the pool into my flower beds.   In my mind, I could hear the boys and their friends running (I reminded them on multiple occasions NOT to), the rapid twanging of the diving board as it was released from the weight of the boys diving, the splash and the ensuing laughter. Over and over I could hear “Mummy, Mummy rate this dive, whose is better?”

I also unearthed a solar light pink flamingo, blanketed by Daylily leaves and asparagus fern stems (don’t tell M. Trautz – she would be horrified if she knew I cared so poorly for my one and only flamingo). The original brilliant pink has been completely bleached white from the sun and the constant exposure to the elements.   I purchased it the year I was into solar garden lights. At night my garden looked like a landing strip at a small airport. All the lights have died now, with the exception of one that continues to shine bright in the Smoke Bush.

I sat in my garden surrounded by an ever-growing pile of clippings, looking at these items I had discovered, listening to the sounds of childhood enjoyment that echoed through the garden, stored in the plants and trees which have stood silently watching as the years have gone by. The trampoline is gone now, I can see the Four o’clocks once again and the grass that died beneath the trampoline has regrown. The pool surface remains smooth and undisturbed, there are no longer the sounds of laughter.   The boys are now equipped with cars and my credit card most of the time.  They spend the majority of their time at the gym, getting the gains. The garden is silent now, but I have discovered the memories are not, the voices, the laughter, the joy of childhood are still there, just waiting to be uncovered.

After photo – there is a Sequoia in there!!!!

Mikey enjoying the silence

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