Monday, May 23, 2011


I'm worried about the Heirloom. Although its trunk looks thick and healthy, the buds seem to wilt too easily in the sun. The Chrysler Imperial alongside seems indestructible in comparison, and the neighboring Antique has exploded in bountiful pink blossoms, but the darn Heirloom gives me daily fits.

It is an essentially optimistic statement to tend the rose garden in a rented house, an act made all the more transient when the property is for sale. The daily watering and tending is juxtaposed with nice lady realtors in Lexus SUV's showing the property to prospective new owners. Whoever they turn out to be, I can't help but hope that they have a fondness for roses.

I guess I'm surprised that I've seen then this far along already. I cut them severely back to twigs in February, and wondered if I'd even see then start to grow back. But roses want to grow, and given the most rudimentary care, will bounce back. The new shoots started to appear within two weeks. I had buds for Easter, and a multicolored cascade of roses for Mother's Day.

I wonder aloud who will care for them when I move on. I'm only here for what seems like a momentary respite, and in that short time, these living things have grown dependent on me for basic care. Perhaps I depend on them as well for a reminder that I can still make an impact, albeit a tiny one, in this spinning green orb.

It's not lost on me that caring for the roses is allegorical, that in tending flowers in a transient rose garden I am somehow symbolizing so many people whose world has spun out of control and who are trying to reclaim even the tiniest parts of it again. I can't undo the damage caused by unchallenged greed on Wall Street, and I can't find jobs for all who need them, but I can make flowers grow in the garden and talk to them and tend them for whomever comes along next. I'm not saying we can heal society with such singularly insignificant gestures, but perhaps we can begin to heal ourselves.


A Lewis said...

I can almost smell them now!

Willym said...

Jeff - I felt the same way when I left my beautiful garden four years ago. I had tended it for five years taking over from the original owners who had spent time lovingly on it and I continued that. I wondered if the next people would take as good care and when we go back to Ottawa in July I'm not sure I want to visit it again just in case. And as silly as it sounds I worry about my balcony garden here and what will happen when I leave. Perhaps it says something about us that we care for something so transient. And for me it says something good!

sikeda said...

Jeff, that was lovely. Thanks for brightening my Monday!

lynette said...

tears are good, yes? that was so lovely, Jeff. i don't know why I can't get back to focusing on the things i actually can take care of. i feel so lost these days, adrift in a world gone batshit crazy. partly, i feel as if i'm in the back seat of a car roaring down a twisting mountain road. there's some dumbass passed out at the wheel, and for all of my screaming i can't stop the thing. could i climb out the window and frolic in the bluebonnets along the road while the car roars on to its ultimate demise? i don't know. i keep rolling down the window, but then my eyes return to the road ahead, riveted by the coming disaster. i need to get out that damn window. thanks for the reminder.

Jeff said...

Arnie- I love the fragrance of them. Thanks.

Willym- Odd how we take comfort in that, isn't it? But we do care.

Sandy- thanks for the kind words.

Lynette- I know it sounds strange, but I guess I'm saying be a good steward of the Earth- love your planet and your people, do what you can do, and hang on tight. There are so many things I can't control, so I'm clinging more tightly to the things that I can.

Birdie said...

Small acts are the essence of hope, and it is hope that keeps us alive. We hope that the unseen result is somehow better than it is now and move to the next hopeful act.

Sometimes we are recipients of acts unseen, and from those we receive the energy to continue hoping. Tend the roses; smile at one stranger; speak for those who cannot. Is it enough? Yes. Is there ever enough? No. We each do what little we can and let go of the desire for control, for that way lies pain and disappointment.

Thank you for this lovely bouquet.

Marc Olson said...

I can almost smell the roses.

...a lovely sentiment and one that rings true. I have given a lot of thought to "what I can do" about the state of things in the world, and come to a similar conclusion. We can heal ourselves, and have a positive effect in our small corner of the world. If everyone decided to do that, many of our problems would be resolved.

This was my first visit to your blog, courtesy of my friend Lynette. I like your blog and will return. Thanks.