God's Roses

Without Any Help from Me!

I knew it was time to do a little gardening the other day; I could no longer pretend the spring’s plants were not an eyesore. What was all comely and colorful the beginning of May was so bedraggled and wilted, that I averted my eyes every time I went in and out of the back door, until there was no place else to look.

Yes, we had an astonishing rainy month of May. However, a good portion of the yard’s untidiness was my fault.

Weeks ago, in a burst of gardening oomph, I repotted a gift of lush lavender. But I didn’t bother to check the drainage holes in the larger pot – there were none. So, with the weeks of rain, and no drainage, the plant drowned – but I did not immediately discard it.

Was I secretly hoping the sun could revive it?

That would have been a better reason than the real one: I just can’t deal with this!

So, I let it sit for weeks, right beside other bedraggled plants that survived the spring deluge, barely. Day after day, I avoided the task at hand – until I thought about how my laziness might have looked to the men who so faithfully cut the grass for us, and blew the twigs and leaves from the very beds and pots I was neglecting.

For several weeks, they could see I wasn’t doing even basic yard hygiene!

Suddenly, I saw my favorite Mary Engelbeit character, scowling and primly attired, her hands on hip, and her command resonated, “Snap out of it.” In the mid 1990’s, when prozac and psycho-babble ruled she said what I wished I had the courage to say sometimes – Get busy and get over yourself, seemed a reasonable update of her gruff advice.

Armed now with a bevy of new summer plants, fresh dirt, a trash bag or two, clippers and a trusty trowel I started early.   Not only did I clean up the mess this spring’s bizarre rains made, I cleaned up what I had ruined. I tossed, trimmed, rearranged, and repotted until I was soaking wet and the sun too hot to continue my chores.

I felt with every bone in my body what great therapy digging in the dirt is!

Taking control of what I can manage is like enjoying a gulp from the fountain of youth. Bustling about that morning, I saw, too, how well the roses survived the incessant May rain – with no help from me – they budded and now bloomed, while I ignored the simplest of garden chores.

I am sorry for failing to do what I should have done immediately. I more sorry that my sloth was obvious for so long to people whose job it is make my yard tidy. And I am grateful that roses pointed to a power that is beyond mine to keep alive beauty – beauty that testifies I am just this garden’s steward, albeit a chastened and contrite one.



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