Saturday, March 21, 2009

Cleaning up and leaving behind

I slept til the sun woke me up, to get ready for this day. Next a hearty breakfast - something along the line of 'breakfast of champions'. I still remember my Dad eating a bowl of wheaties every morning, before he headed out to his job delivering mail, and somehow it still speaks to me of shoring up against the day ahead.

Today is day one of 'get the yard into shape'. It has little to do with putting the house on the market, except that we're tackling it a few weeks earlier than usual, which means we'll wear hoodies and jeans versus shorts and t-shirts.

We'll take the hoses from the shed, unwind them and hook them up. Drag out the wheel barrel and rakes and gardening tools, including my ratty green kneepad that has had much use. Those leaves have been hiding all winter long, gathered together around the legs of the porch furniture. There's strength in numbers - too many of them to bother with through the winter, and now here they are still hanging around the front porch. Their mother tree was actually cut down late last fall, and is long gone but still they remain. Today they're mine.

I caught a glimpse of the clematis beginning to curl up the porch railing yesterday, out of a nest of these same dead brown leaves, and I'm looking forward to watching them daily, as they seem to grow by leaps and bounds. Within just a few weeks they'll make it to the top of the railing. There's something very springish about clematis climbing up the porch railing.

Daffodils are poking up their heads in the cluttered beds out front. They're hard to see for all the dead foliage left behind from last falls mums and those grasses we planted. By the end of the day they'll be standing straight and proud, just about ready to open up and shout about spring's arrival. The lambs ear looks dreadful, covered up in a layer of last year's dead leaves, but underneath there will be new growth, soft and fuzzy, just waiting for me to expose it to the sunshine.

A few of the shrubs aren't going to make it I fear. The white rhododendron is not long for this world, and so I'll make a trip to the local nursery to buy a replacement. I've wished many times I'd waited for a pink one to be available, and so I'll do that this time, even if it means driving around a bit. I think the next owners would enjoy a bit of pink there. I moved the hydrangea last fall, to a better spot, and it's move has left behind a big, empty spot in the corner by the fence. Not sure what to tuck there, but something that will look cheery. I'm considering a patch of strawberries. It would be nice to have strawberries so near the back door, ready to toss into a bowl of spring greens with some mandarin oranges and call it good. Not that they really stand much of a chance against the birds. I suspect the birds will get far more berries than whoever buys this house.

By the end of the day tomorrow we'll be dirty and tired and sore. As a completion of our annual ritual, we'll fire up the grill and throw on some burgers, add store-bought potato salad and baked beans and eat our dinner feeling good about working hard and accomplishing so much. There really is nothing as rewarding as seeing the work of our hands - freshly cleaned beds of daffodils and creeping clematis and the last of those brown leaves put away for good.

On a practical level I hope this is the last time we clean up this yard, as we're readying it to put on the market. On a tender heart level, that clematis was my mother's day gift several years ago. The rose was planted in celebration of Addison's one year birthday. The lamb's ear and coneflower was given to me by a sweet friend, as I began developing my perennial bed. The hostas that fill many of the beds were transplanted late one night, after we'd worked all day in a friend's yard doing spring cleanup. He was battling cancer at the time, lost the fight soon after, and when I see those plants I still think of him, and his widow left behind with two boys to raise. But there's another yard waiting for me, full of perennials tenderly planted by someone other than me. Possibly many of those plants have stories to tell, if they could. I guess it's part of the cycle, leaving a little bit of yourself when you go, knowing someone else will come behind you and put a bit of their heart into it, then move on to the next place God has for you, being sure to celebrate both. Life is fluid and none of us are meant to stay in any place forever, it's much more a matter of what we do while we're there, what we leave behind for someone else.


Dana~Are We There Yet? said...

Sweet words, Bev, and so true.

I learn so much from you.

Barb said...

What a nice post, Bev. I understand how certain plants bring back memories. Imagine all th new memories waiting to be made in Texas. :-)

Same here - spring yard cleanup starts today and I'm very excited - we're on our way to Home Depot and I'm getting my very own personal rake! I hope they have a red one. xoxoxo

Gretchen said...

What Dana true.

Maybe a framed picture of your yard in all it's finery would be nice to have in your new house.

I'm sure this time is bittersweet.

Becky said...

I did the same yard clean up last week, raking the foot of dead leaves off of all the plants, weeding, hoeing, planting. It is amazing to me that once you remove the leaves and dead stuff all around, and water a bit, and allow a little sunshine to get to them, how those plants just spring up. I can't wait to see the pictures of your daffodils. I love a happy daffodil.

Enjoy the work and that great feeling of satisfaction afterwards.

Susanne said...

Beautiful, Bev. I can so see where it all would bring mixed emotions. I would be so tempted to take little snips of some of them to root and replant at your new place.

Just Another Ordinary Miracle said...

I love checking in here. I only wish that I were that talented with plants. Some how I missed the green thumb in our family. However, I do have two hydrangeas, my favorite, outside of our backdoor that were given to Ivey when she was first born. Pink of course. They are small now but I can't wait till they are full of hundreds of blooms. Everytime I look of them I see Ivey.

I also have ivy planted in a pot in my kitchen. That plant is just like Ivey, tough. I can't kill it if I try.

Happy beginning of spring!!

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