As I toiled in the yard, cutting back perennials, I was feeling good. Some years the weather and personal circumstances don’t give me the chance to proactively lay the groundwork for next year. Presumably this prep will pay dividends in spring, though to be honest, I wonder if leaving taller growth doesn’t provide a better snow trap. I guess we’ll see. Scientists would say it depends on snowfall levels, median temperatures, and soil moisture levels at the time of freeze-up.
I’m no expert on all that, but I do know it felt wonderful to be doing this work on a warm Saturday rather than freezing my ass off after a surprise snowfall. It made me feel as though one area of my life was in order.
I also enjoyed the sheer physical effort of the work. I fear I’m one of those suffering from what the medical community has dubbed the sitting disease?too many hours spent at a desk, in a car, on a couch. Apparently it is the new big threat to our longevity.
Other activities that created a sense of pride (it takes so very little, it seems) were reorganizing the pantry, tweaking a closet space, and gathering articles to take to a consignment shop. It’s been nearly a year since the kitchen was redone, and I’m just now figuring out where It’s best to store the blender and supplies for my morning shake and realizing that setting up a second cutlery tray near the stove saves a lot of miles.
Making order inside and out is one of those mindless, contemplative actions that feels good. It allows the mind to go to a place of calm. You think thoughts that aren’t possible when You’re watching TV or reading or driving. I was surprised at where they took me.
As I collected seed pods I remembered the man who, 20 years ago, had given me the seeds to start these perennials. As I cut back the Asiatic lilies, I thought of the friend who gave me a particular stunner. Both John and Deb are long gone, but their memory lives on through these plants.
And just because I’m consigning a scarf Deb brought back from a trip to Europe doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten her or the thoughtful gift. Just because I’m remaking some jewellery left behind when Roy’s aunt died in May doesn’t mean I’m unappreciative.
Things (plant or otherwise) may evoke memories, enrich our lives, and serve practical purposes for many years. But when their usefulness is past, it doesn’t diminish their significance. And It’s a reminder that we are leaving ?heart? tracks all the time with what we are giving others. Whether It’s seeds that could conceivably live forever or something with built-in obsolescence, we are making memories for the recipient. Not a bad thought, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka’s first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.