Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Gardening, a NaNoWriMo Story

--by Janin Wise

Now sometimes it happens, after my boys have long since relaxed and sighed into slumber, that my own mind won’t stop racing and running. You might wonder where the tradition of stories comes from, and I can tell you honestly that I grew up with them. My mother, her sisters, my Grandparents—all of them wonderful story tellers. So I have to admit that sometimes, I have to tell myself a story to calm that overactive mind down enough so that I too can rest and sleep.

This night happens to be such a night.

So being November, even though it's southern Alabama, the temperatures are starting to dip. And this year, I’ve decided to plant winter annuals. The funny thing is that my morning glories, that traditionally bloom all spring, are still blooming into the beginning of winter! And it makes me smile to see my lovely blue, white and purple morning glories brightening the side of my house with the sunny yellow and fall leave orange mums.

But it got me thinking about seasons, time, and purpose (under hea-eaven!).

One day, as the sun was kissing the earth and beginning to waken her from her winter slumber, the surface was pinched and broken by mortal hands, trying to implement a change. A series of small hard pips where gently placed, covered over with the displaced earth, and watered.

For a long time, nothing happened, but as the sun awoke the earth, so too did it waken the life wrapped snuggly in the kernel of those pips and roots began to reach for nutrients, and stems began to reach for the warmth of the sun, and Morning Glory, in her infant stage began to grow.

Every day was a wonder of light! Reaching, reaching towards the heavens. She could feel her roots growing deeper and stronger each day.

Some days, she wilted under the weight and burden of that light, but the Shadow would pass, bringing with it the cooling, much needed touch of precious water.

And so her days continued in the pattern for time uncountable—for what matter hours and days in the life of a flower?

And then the day came that she blossomed into adulthood—putting forth a near unending supply of supple, sweet flowers that called to the bees and wasps, butterflies and humming birds. Oh! To see the variety of beautiful creatures that stopped to visit her every day—the wealth of colors in their bodies, the smell of other flowers that clung to them, the sounds of the buzzing of some of their wings—or the silence of others. All of it was a never ending marvel to her! She knew that this was her prime, and like all creatures in their prime, was sure that it would last forever!

Then one day, the weather began to turn cooler. She shivered in the piercing wind as she watched the leaves she had known all her life fall from the trees around her. Change. The irresistable, immutable, unalterable and often terrifying was upon her. The ground that had forever provided nutrients seemed to harden and chill her roots. The sun, that she had always lifted towards seemed further away and stingier with her warmth. She began to despair, as many do when they feel the breath of death across their flesh.

And something happened. She watched as the Shadow stood long before her, digging into the earth around her roots, and placed a new flower at her feet. This flower introduced himself as Chrys.

They had many talks about the lives they’d led. And Morning Glory learned from Chrys that he knew his life was but a single season. “It has always been this way in my family.” As she herself knew that the blossoms she had put forth all season long were turning into the seeds she would drop for the following year.

She could not understand how he could cheerfully greet each day, knowing how short his life would be.

But he said, “No one knows the length of their life. Lighting could strike that mighty pine tree standing before you tomorrow, and all his years would count for naught. Wind can trample the fresh planted grass before they’ve even a chance to begin. But to worry about an end you cannot see is merely to spend a life in misery. It is better to enjoy each and every day for the wonders it provides.”

And so the fear and worry that had gripped her as she realized that her time would soon be upon her, released from her leaves and she blossomed more strongly and brightly than she had during the entire spring of her life! The last minute pollen gatherers thanked her for her efforts, as she would help them survive the winter. And their efforts gave her yet more pips to release for the upcoming year.

And Morning Glory and Chrys, in all their tender talks, began to fall in love. So instead of always reaching up, as she had done all her life, she reached tenderly, tenderly down and wrapped a blossom around her love. They held each other in this loving manner until the wind and chill became too much for her and she released her offspring into the unknown future, scattering them amongst the protective blossoms and leaves of Chrys who would look over the children of his love through the long cold winter months, still holding on the memory of their time together.

And as this thought passed through my mind, the jumble in my head calmed and I found myself at peace, and drifting off to join my children in slumber.

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