Thursday, April 14, 2011

To Hellebores and Back

The garden gives us gifts from time to time.  So does life.

He hasn't been sleeping well this week.  When I come down in the morning, he is dressed, watching the news and looking weary despite the evening's rest.  Bedtime comes early, but sleep does not appear to follow in step.

The family homestead of seventy five years stands vacant.  After she left in a blaze of sirens, he could not bear to go back. Life changes in an instant.   First Thanksgiving, then Christmas passed and all did their best to commemorate without celebration. 

She toughed it out for several months, and he never missed a day by her side, holding the hand that could no longer move on its own, and telling her how beautiful she was.  In the end he cradled her face in his hand and assured her it was okay to go, that he would be alright.  So she did. 

Now it's my turn.  A snazzy two bedroom condo in the park awaits.  Having tearfully sent two daughters off to college, this letting go is nothing new, but it doesn't seem to get any easier.

Saturday, the moving van arrives to transport the family heirlooms to his new high rise, a new life, a brand new beginning.  Too bad we all really liked the old life.  Time to move on. 

As sister Deborah says  "No crying in baseball."

He'll have a grand time.  The folks at the new place have already welcomed him openly.  The ladies are lovely, and the guys are sociable.  Hanging out with pup Ralph all day is pleasurable, but sometimes the comfort of Ralph and that blue bathrobe can get a little too easy.  I know. 

The garden gives gifts, especially in the spring.  Today it was a sudden bouquet of hellebores appearing from under a tangled mass of winter burned leaves.  Looks like they had a tough coupla months too.

Age and adversity bring about a childlike guile, unfamiliar in my strapping father, but poignant all the same.  It's this guy who's so hard to let go of. 

So I sent him off for his thirty thousand mile check up before he makes this long move one half mile away.

The beauty which emerges after particularly adverse conditions is especially distinctive and singular.  That bouquet of pale green lenten roses spilling out from between the rocks stands out against the newly thawed earth and amongst the more sedate blooms still carefully emerging. 

Hellebores remain above the ground all winter. They do not retreat into the safety of the earth, encapsulated in the layers of a bulb.  The
blooms arrive with a flourish. 

My father could have retreated to the isolation of his family home, or become a permanent guest in mine, (certainly no one would have faulted him) but he has chosen instead to take these shaky steps away from safety.

In doing so he continues to inspire and impress, just like those lovely chartreuse blooms.

More Articles of Personal Interest:

Father's Day -- The Mighty Acorn

Pushing the Zone -- USDA HARDINESS

Hens and Chicks -- Garden Bouquets are Cheep!