Sunday, January 10, 2010

David's Ivy

Well after spending almost 4 weeks in the hospital, including Christmas and New Years, I am loving being home. Though I am still spending most of my time resting in bed, I have been able to sit and look out the window, watch the finches on their feeder and just enjoy the beauty of my small zen garden.

I think of my old house on a half acre with beautiful flower beds and lots of roses and miss being able to cut roses to have in the house pretty much whenever I wanted. I remember moving into the apartment shortly after my divorce and how hard it was not being able to work in my yard. I bought over 50 plants for my little balcony. I tended the plants and watched them thrive. I had a purpose once again. Mother's need to tend, they need to see what they tend grow and flourish. I felt whole.

Then when we found our first house together, Beni and I, I remember looking at the backyard and saying I wanted this house. I really didn't care what the inside was like, it had a big yard. Plenty of planting room. I brought all the plants from the apartment and gave them a permanent place. Except for the big momma aloe vera that came from my old house. I planted her babies, but kept the mama in her pot...just in case.

Then my daughter and her son needed a place and we sold them our house and we decided to move into the townhouse. Preston after all, needed a yard to play in, more than I needed a yard to plant and tend.

And so, here I am in the one story townhouse, that we have remodeled hacienda style with lots of color and Diego Rivera type paintings. But there is only a small courtyard in the front and a small patio in the back. Every inch of dirt is occupied with some plant or other. Additional pots abound with more plants. And I dream of having a yard with rose gardens and vegetable gardens, in the mountains where lilac bushes would grow and maybe even hydrangeas.

When we first moved in, I wondered how I would like the closeness of the neighbors. I really liked my house on the 1/2 acre so this connectedness was going to be different and I wasn't sure how I would like it. Jane and David lived next door...connected to our bedroom side. David was ill and Jane took care of him and her ailing mother. Jane. Jane had a wit and a brilliant mind. She made me laugh. She cooked wonderful things and brought them over to share. She was older, but she became my best friend.

Jane had an atrium in her unit. She had these wonderful plants. Boston ferns that were huge. Tremendous ferns that had overgrown their big pots but just too big to plant in anything else. She one day decides to cut them in two with a butcher knife and wanted my help. I wasn't so sure. It looked like a death sentence to me. Jane was determined and so we did it. We took that big knife and sliced and sawed those ferns into two rather large plants. And I ended up with half of the bounty! I still have my's outside in the courtyard now. HUGE! We laughed at what we had done, but thought it quite marvelous when we had finished.

Another lovely plant was a beautiful variegated ivy. Jane called it David's ivy. It was a little ivy plant he had during one of his stays in the hospital. It had long since thrived in the atrium into an adult plant. I always commented on it and one day Jane brings me 3 starts of David's ivy. I planted each start in a different location to make sure at least one of them would take.

At first they looked like they would all do well, but after time only one remained. I became more careful in tending this, because during the months following the planting of David's ivy, David had died, Jane's mother had died and Jane was forced to move out. I kept thinking something would happen and the landlord would let her stay, but if didn't happen, Jane moved out. No more calls to meet at the pony wall for pie or homemade macaroni and cheese. No more calls that she was armed with a butcher knife and going to separate a fern. David's ivy was all that remained.

Now I sit in a chair out on the back patio and watch the pretty yellow finches. I see the rock I painted with tulips for Jane when she decided she wasn't going to buy any more flowers for her patio only to watch them die. And I see David's ivy, growing strong and healthy. Slowly finding it's way up the trellis. Reminding me to be patient, to take it slow, to take care of myself, to remember what is important and what isn't. To remember friends that made me laugh and gave me gifts that will stay in my heart forever. I miss you Jane, but David's ivy is here and growing stronger each day, showing me that life goes on. And I am trying to do the same.