Tuesday, April 8, 2014
April 7 and the bird feeders are out. I only put them out when I am sitting here and can keep an eye on them. Just a week or so ago, I thought it would be May before all the snow melted, but a surprisingly amount has melted within a week. The majority of the field is now bare and half the back yard. The front yard is still buried because tall spruce trees block the morning sun.
It now really feels like spring and I remember my first spring here in Bradford in 2007. I’d never been a gardener, but when Ma and I bought this house with its little greenhouse on the side, I thought I’d start. I went out and bought wagons and gardening tools and by March of that year when the snow melted, I was outside in the gardens pulling away the past years of neglect and the winter debris. There were 10 sections of fence along what we called the Long Garden and as I had 10 grandchildren, I named each section after a grandchild.
As more snow melted, I cleaned more of the area until it the groundcover vinca was clear of old leaves and twigs. New shoots of… lilies, probably, as I wasn’t sure what else was in the garden. What a time of discovery waiting to see what would come up and blossom. I checked the guidebooks often and began making charts and drawings of each section and noting what plants grew there.
May came and Ma and I visited nurseries and bought flowering plants. She loved annuals and I preferred perennials. I lined the front walkway with pansies, gerbera daisies, and marigolds. I planted a variety of azaleas. The section around the deck outside Ma’s room and around a nearby tree, I made into gardens for her. Later in the year, I dug up excess day lilies and made other gardens around the property and for that year, Ma would walk around the yard and check on my progress. She, who once had fabulous flower gardens in the yard no longer wanted to do the work. However, she still always asked for lawn ornaments for birthdays and Christmas.
The next year, she sat on the deck or watched from the window while I worked. I’d put the rows of little feeders and lawn ornaments along the walkways and in areas where she still could see them. Her interest waned and I was finding I did not like gardening so much. I love flowers and plants and I love the excitement of spring when new shoots first start showing, but once it starts getting buggy and hot, I don’t like being outside. Plus, the type of work I do (art and writing) mostly keeps me inside.
Ma declined and my interest in doing any gardening dropped further. After her passing on Christmas Day 2011, I don’t even like going out in the yard any more. I go out long enough to put up a couple of bird feeders. I look around and see the fancy feeders and other lawn things she loved and that I never took care of and my eyes fill with tears. It breaks my heart to be out there because I look around seeing the things we bought together. I keep thinking that I will fix the things that are deteriorated or broken. They could still be useful. Yes, I feel guilty, but I just can’t…
And so, it is coming up to the anniversary of her birth and we are planning a memorial service. We will spread her ashes at her most favorite place, a place of her childhood, one she spoke of often. A final goodbye and I will return to this house that no longer holds joy for me.
I have to get away from this house! It’s time for me to move on, too.