Thursday, April 28, 2011

Getting in the Roses

Yesterday and today I finally overcame procrastination long enough to plant a small bed of roses. For several weeks, I had monitored low-temperature forecasts and my own laziness, awaiting the moment when one overcame the other.

With no freezes in the offing now, I realized I no longer had an excuse for delay. It was time for planting.

I am a self-taught amateur gardener of about four summers’ standing. In fact, my first full summer of plantings occurred in 2007, just as I was about to enter RCIA on my road to the Catholic Church. My rule of green thumb is, Put it in the ground and if it survives, it was meant to be there. But roses, I know, require a bit more attention and preparation. A) They’re expensive. B) I know that they are most likely to thrive in full sunlight.

All last year I eyed the space along a south-facing wall beside our driveway that is the only truly sun-bathed area in our entire garden. Tuesday I bought the plants. Yesterday I prepared the soil. Today I put them in.

Roses, like people, have a lot to teach you. Several times this week, I found myself procrastinating in front of people, too, although procrastination doesn’t fully cover it. Lazy, inattentive, mildly depressive, or just plain selfish, on three occasions I initially held back from a human encounter that I was glad to finally follow through with. We learn nothing by ourselves. It is only when we enter life with both sleeves rolled up that we experience anything at all.

Today, for example, I was up at 3:15 am, and by 1:00 pm, my whole being was crying for a nap and general disengagement from life. I tried to sleep but couldn’t. I was plagued by the gnawing awareness that I usually visit F. and C., an elderly couple, on Thursdays around 2:30 pm. I knew I could call them after waking up and make a lame excuse, but I never fell asleep.

I finally hauled myself out of nap position at 2:00 and headed toward their house soon afterward. It was one of my happiest meetings with them. When I arrived, C. seemed especially relieved, because F. has not been entirely himself lately. He doesn’t get out much, and he suffers from cabin fever, octogenarian style. He and I had a great time chatting while C. was out pushing their granddaughter in the stroller. Then grandmother and granddaughter came in, and I had the time of my life “painting” with the two-year-old.

I know that what I did might be considered an act of charity. But the thing is, it brought me to life. I left their house filled with energy—enough energy to put in a bed of roses.

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