Balm for the Weary

Zebra Swallowtail

Is everyone as weary as me? I wonder. My brain hurts. In no particular order. COVID. Voting rights. Racism. Misogyny. Climate change. White supremacy. Insurrection. Fake news. Liars. Assassination. Investigation upon investigation with no real consequences. Selfishness. No responsibility to the community at large. I am tired.

I have the privilege of retreating to my yard, my garden in which I’ve toiled for over 40 years. Sometimes as I look around I realize that nature’s dramas are so like those of humans. I see battered butterflies, wings frayed and torn, still on the hunt for food, for survival. There are squabbles within species and between species, monarchs dive-bombing swallowtails, bees knocking all the other fliers off the nectar producers and tiny hummingbirds, more aggressively successful than one would think. Gorgeous plants are decimated by aphids, japanese beetles, squirrels and rabbits. I note the hierarchies with interest and reluctant despair. Maybe what I wish for is beyond reality. But then there is beauty and unexpected surprises like the hydrangea that bloomed for the first time ever this summer after a dozen years, and the tropical plant still producing its little purple flowers after three years of my dragging it in for the winter and back out in the summer. Is there anything more amazing than the pink dinner plate hibiscus which returns faithfully every July?

The tropical duranta.
Dinner plate hibiscus
First blooming year for this old hydrangea

I miss Michael in our yard and garden. That will be true forever. I can see him working out there in his parts while I worked in mine. When I dig, I feel him in the dark rich soil which provided such bounty. Now there’s a tree planted for him out there, a kousa dogwood which when mature, will drape in the way my long, languid husband did. In its third year, I feel confident it will live so I ordered an engraved stone dedicated to Michael. One day my ashes will be mixed with his and strewn by our children out there where we belong.

But I am still here and as the brilliant birds brightened my winter, all the life in the other three seasons is solace, a balm to my fatigued mind. So again, in no particular other, I share my photos of mid-summer with you. I hope they soothe whatever jangly place you’re in right now. At least for a time.

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