Wednesday, June 27, 2007
My mother was a gifted gardener, but because of my assorted obligations and distractions I have become an indifferent one, at best. There are a few plants in the yard that take care of themselves and triumph over my neglect, every season. These are some of Aunt Icy's day lilies.
The Scientist's Great-Aunt Icy was an East Texas farmer who worked alongside her farmer husband for decades, both in Texas and, for about twenty years, in the more challenging climate of South Dakota. She lived to be ninety-four, an independent woman who mowed her yard with a riding mower, well into her eighties. To her delight, my sister-in-law took her for a motorcycle ride on her ninetieth birthday. She was a priceless source of family history and genealogy, and we are thankful for the tape recording we made with her one afternoon as we wandered through several country cemeteries and learned the stories of the kinfolk who were buried there. After she died, my sister-in-law salvaged these day lilies from her yard before the house was sold. As day lilies will when they are left to their own devices, they have multiplied from five plants to about fifteen. I keep saying that "some day" I will dig them up and separate the clumps, but "some day" hasn't come. And yet, every summer, these vivid red blooms surprise me.
I know there's a moral or metaphor in here somewhere about how things that are pretty good now, could be even better if I expended just a little more effort. I know that I am easily distracted, that I dawdle around and let things more important than day lilies slide along on autopilot at times--especially my friendships. Yet somehow, when we do make contact, my friends and I always seem to pick up where we left off, for which I am thankful. Grace abounds, and may I never take that for granted.