Hanging out with the trees and shrubs and flowers is calming and life-affirming. First of all, my plant friends don’t talk. Secondly, they are good listeners.
Normally, I don’t purchase azaleas in the spring or summer. It gets too hot in the Bayou State, and because of their shallow roots, azaleas can die of thirst without the ability to dig deep for water.
So it behooves this Southern girl to buy azaleas in the fall. Knowing that I should not – must not – plant in the summer, I still could not resist poking around the garden center last July. Looking never hurt anything. Or anyone.
There were only a few azaleas left, and I knew I wouldn’t buy any, but something propelled me to sneak a peek.
A particularly dark one caught my eye – not a yellow leaf on it. Someone must have really taken good care of this one. Let me just look, see what color it will bloom. Orange.
Orange? I had never heard of an orange azalea, but this one would bloom so pretty in spring. I should buy it. No, don’t buy it. It’s too hot to plant it right now. Look at it. It’s only three dollars. If it doesn’t make it, you will not have lost much. Ok, I’ll get it.
I had this conversation with myself on July 6. Susan died on July 4, but I didn’t find out for several days. Maybe – just maybe – Susan, with her lovely orange locks, was telling me to plant this orange azalea to remind me not to despair when I think of her.
To remind me to smile when I think of her.
To be happy that I knew her.
To be happy.
So I coddled Susan’s azalea until the weather turned cooler and the universe was ready to accept this gift for her.
When I was knocked down onto my knees in despair over having lost her, Susan herself cradled me and urged me to go on. Ramble on is what I shall do.
I give this gift to her, but she is not bound by the limits of my garden. She is no longer manacled to the lie.
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El Guapo said:
I’m glad you went ahead and bought what turned out to be a reminder of her in your garden.
I’m glad I did, too, Guap. Can’t wait to see it blossom in the spring. It’s doing quite well. ❤
Lovely post. There is something very special about associating a plant or a bird or anything beautiful with a dear person who is now lost to you. There is comfort in that. I have found this to be true.
Quite true, Bonnie. ❤
Claire Chisolm said:
I did not know of your loss, but surely Susan was speaking to you. Lovely azalea, lovely Susan… LOVELY you!
Lovely Claire. Always near my heart. ❤
Yesterday at the markets with my daughter, we met a man who told us that items choose us. We think we have chosen them, but that is not the case. Susan’s Azalea chose you, Stacy, I can feel it just as you did. ❤
Thank you for that, Joanne. That is what I was hoping when it “chose” me. ❤
Thank you for sharing from your garden and beyond… I feel Susan intertwined with the azaleas. She’ll be whispering to you in the coming months…
Oh, I do hope so, Kathy. Her presence is missed. I hope I am not trying to recreate something that can never be again. ❤
It is always that we associate with special people, certain flowers they liked or colors they loved. We need that for brightening our darkest days, as balm for an aching soul. Funny that they did not give this azalea a botanical name; only mentioning the color. We do have one very rare bright orange red azalea, called: ‘Stonewall Jackson’ — Confederate series from Opelousas, Louisiana of all places. Look here: http://bit.ly/1cl2EJF
Hugs to you and good luck!
I hope that gazing upon this beauty will carry me through the dark times. I really miss her. ❤
life of the hand - life of the mind said:
Nice post. The affirmation of plants, gardens, open space, wilderness, wildness–the seasons as they roll out in each of these, our lives–yes, the affirmation. The necessity of it.
Indeed. It is a necessity for the soul, at least it is for me and a few others. ❤