Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Newly Mown Fields

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When The Husband reaches for a hoe, weed-whacker, or the mower, I quake in fear. You need to know this, The Husband is a fine gardener. With my lousy back, he not only does the heavy lifting in our gardening, he does all the lifting. He cares, he truly enjoys the rewards, and he is willing to do the work. I am deeply grateful.

However. You knew that was coming, didn’t you? However, when it comes time to clean up the yard, he is, in his heart, committed to what I have named the General Sherman school of landscaping. That’s General William Tecumseh Sherman, he of the “scorched earth” policy. Right. The general who torched Atlanta.

When he announced that it was time to mow down what was left of the wild daisies near the house, I was a little nervous. Who knew what else would fall along with the dried daisy stalks. I watched him drive the tractor out of the shed and retreated to the office, resigned to live with the consequences.

This time, it turned out for the best. I can walk more freely now, no longer dodging the impenetrable clumps of stalks with all the dried vegetation camouflaging goodness only knew what. The ant beds are a new concern, but I have long been wary of the gopher holes, and we do live in rattlesnake country. Now, I can see where I am going and feel more confident to explore beyond what had been my narrow walkways. The first signs of fall are already in the air and there will be more of these cloud shows in the days to come. It’s nice having access to even more viewpoints
from which to enjoy them. General Sherman, a job well done. I salute you, sir.

Before the pixels had settled from this post, General Sherman went back to work. The second wave of the battle took out the daisies that were still hanging on at the edge of the patio. War is indeed hell. Now, about that salute.

Monday, August 24, 2009

No Scents Whatsoever

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(Before you jump to any conclusions, check that spelling. I will occasionally own up to having very little sense; but, this time, I am talking about scents.)

We all miss out on things in life. The notion of “having it all” was always an empty promise and a cruel tease. Instead, life is about making choices. Letting go of one thing to hold on to another. Taking one road, but missing out on the other. Foregoing one pleasure for the sake of different one.

One of the things missing from my life had nothing to do with choices. I have no sense of smell and, since I never did, I can’t rely on memory to bring back lost pleasures. At first, it seemed only slightly odd to me as a child that others talked about perfumes while it seemed to me that the only flowers with any scent was maybe gardenias. My mother had a treasured gardenia bush that my father had planted as an anniversary gift and my mother couldn’t have been happier had it been a fur coat. (Well, that’s weak. We lived in central Texas and a fur coat would have been useful for only about two months out of the year. And, yes, I know fur coats are politically incorrect; but, I was born and raised before, and therefore remain somewhat blissfully immune to, pc thinking.)

At any rate, thanks to that bush, I found that if it put my nose down inside—nearly through—a gardenia, I could detect an aroma and, because there weren’t many aromas in my world, it was a pleasant sensation. The only other scent I recall was that of fresh leather when my brand new saddle arrived from Sears and Roebuck, no less.

Gradually, I discovered that everyone detected thousands of these smells that I was missing out on. But, since there wasn’t much I could do about it, I suppose I simply concentrated on the joys of my other senses. Over the past few days, I have thought about these things as I cut bunches of lavender from the small lavender field in front of the house. Everyone tells me that the smell is sweet and fresh and maybe I get just a vague hint of something in the air—something that tickles my nose. Or, perhaps there is nothing more than the power of suggestion.

I do know that I enjoy the pale, purple color along with the whorls of the tiny blossoms marching up the spike. When I am cutting, I have a fine time out there with the bees. Later, I take great pleasure in scattering the tied bunches around the house. The plants are a joy to see, as well as photograph; and, even if my nose can’t detect the subtleties, the power of suggestion is strong. My imagination tells me that the house is sweeter for their fragrance, and that’s almost as good as the real thing.