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GREETING THE GARDEN
May 22, 2006
 
There is almost more excitement in the garden these days than a heart patient should experience -- I should start carrying my nitroglycerin tablets in my pocket when I go out there. Now is the time of successive bloom -- two or three flowers pack it in for the season and two or three more begin. The palette will change from almost all purples to mostly yellows, probably by the end of the week, and the red poppies stand ready, in the fuzzy green football helmets they wear over their shocking red petals until it is their time.

Almost everyone who was transplanted made it. It's a more hazardous journey than one might expect, from the front of the house to a new home in the back or vice versa, from a colony of one's littermates to a lonely outpost somewhere else. Some of them don't survive the shock, no matter how well you may have prepared the soil for them. But most do. And some of them look like they've died of fright for the rest of the summer, only to show up next spring, hale and hearty, with a baby in tow -- turns out they weren't half dead at all. They were just pregnant.

It has been a year of strenuous travel for me so far, and that will continue through the remainder of it. I try to stay home more in the summer, to be with the garden, but I still have promises to keep. Often, I don't return until late at night, long after dark. Can't see much of the garden then. And so the first morning after my return is a fine one. I am out there with the sun. If it is raining, I am out there anyway. I have longed to see it as much as you long to hold your baby when you've been away, with a yearning surprisingly visceral.

Travel is alone, and the garden is together. Travel is separation and so is death, and the garden is reunion. Travel is too much change too fast, quick helloes and hasty good-byes. The garden is change, too, but its change is not jarring: it is the greeting of one thing as something else bids farewell, the calm promise of a return next year.

A blessed place. It has taken years for it to become what it is, a process in which I have helped in some small way while I have been here. The plants will live and die, but the garden goes on.
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St. Mark's in Raleigh, NC tells me that their children are hard at work on their Pennies From Heaven banks for ERD. Noodle says she can't wait to hear from them when the banks are full! Keep her informed of your progress at mailto:Noodle@geraniumfarm.org. She will write back. She sits on my lap to read her email and to write very avant-garde poetry, like "llllllllllllllllllllllll......."
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