All last weekend I could hear the joyful sounds of laughter and conversation as all the girls from our street and one who used to live here gathered on our front porch, making “potions” and “perfumes” and all kinds of things. Using wood, old chimes from a wind chime, baskets, all kinds of leaves and holly berries, and very active imaginations, the girls went at it as though they had mortar and pestle. Mashing and grinding and laughing and singing and concocting. They were having all the fun.
I stepped outside to say hello at one point, and the youngest girl on our street was holding a big ol’ basket in her arms. Her smile though–that and her blue eyes would warm anyone’s heart. She set it down and went back to work with the others. I turned to go back inside when the basket’s contents caught my eye.
It was filled–FILLED–with buds. Beautiful closed buds from my camellia.
Oh my heart. I guess I made a sound, probably a distressed one, and that sweet girl looked up at me with her blue eyes.
“Where did y’all get those?” I asked, when I finally found my voice.
“Over there,” she said, pointing at–yes–my camellia.
“Oh. Ummm. Okay.” I paused. Hold it together, hold it together. “Well, could y’all not pick anymore of those please,” I said to all the girls. “They won’t bloom if they’re not on the bush. I mean, it’s fine and all,” I hurriedly said, as eyes got bigger, “but just maybe not anymore?”
“Oh, don’t worry, Mama,” our Princess said. “We left the ones at the top that we couldn’t reach.”
Oh. Well. In that case.
So my poor taller than I am camellia with just a few buds left at head height was on my mind and heart all that evening. I could hear my Mama’s voice, gently reminding me over the years. People are what count. Not things. And I’m certain she would add, not flowers.
Eh. I would likely have lost a lot of them in a good freeze anyway.
Tuesday I had a busy day, and my Fella took the helm. While I went from an appointment to a meeting, he hung out with the littles and had them helping him take care of some much needed yard work. I had started trimming our Lora Pedlum in the front flowerbed two months ago while the Fella was gone for work, but I could only get so high using my pruning shears without a ladder. And I refused to get on a ladder without an adult close by to call 911 when I fell. (Because yeah, it was bound to happen.) So it was in desperate need of trimming all around, especially on top, as were some other shrubs. There was also an invader in the middle of my camellia bush. Some tall singular strand of an interesting weed/plant that had reached at least three feet taller than the camellia around it.
Since he had all of this in front of him, my Fella had picked up a cordless hedge trimmer. (More power, more power) As I left for my day to dailies, he was setting out, trimmer in hand.
When I dashed back home between obligations for just a few minutes, he pulled me to the side.
“You want the good news or the bad news?” he asked.
I immediately jumped to the bad news. Was it Miss Sophie, who had felt puny a few days before? Was it one of the children? I couldn’t even wrap my brain around what all the bad could be, but YES TELL ME ALL THE BAD THINGS NOW BEFORE I PASS OUT FROM HYPERVENTILATING.
“It’s your plant. I cut it down. By accident. I’m sorry. Our Princess said it was your favorite. I’m really sorry. I couldn’t see that’s what I was cutting down under there.”
“The one with the buds on it.”
Ah. Oh y’all. Yeah. That sounds about right.
I went to the front door and looked out.
Yep. Camellia. Gone.
And all I could do was laugh.
I mean, last weekend I was trying to hold it together because most of the buds were gone. I sure am glad I didn’t give the girls a hard time about that–would have been really silly, considering, huh?
I think that my Fella might have been a bit concerned that I was delirious, laughing and all. After all, just over two years ago I lost it because he chopped up my fuzzy Wandering Jew plants in the flower bed thinking they were weeds. I mean, LIFE WAS OVER AS I KNEW IT when those plants were chopped up.
Only of course it wasn’t.
And they grew back healthier and in greater number than ever.
So yeah. I’m in a much better place now, and really–I think maybe, in the words of my folks, I’m finally “getting it.”
People. Their feelings. They matter so much more.
My Fella seemed relieved that Hurricane Tara wasn’t about to hit land. He took me out and showed me what he had done in the hopes of saving something.
Bless him, he had take two of the bigger branches from the bush and planted one on either side of the other shrubs in the hopes of them somehow taking root and growing and blooming and all the beautiful things.
He’s been watering them everyday.
How could I not love someone with that much hope and faith?
Maybe it will happen. Maybe those stalks will take root. Or maybe they will become very important ingredients in the very busy and intense potions factory I host on my front porch. Either way, all will be well.
I can always get another camellia. I mean, I was hoping for a ginkgo for Christmas, but camellias are good too.
But precious little ones sharing their imaginations and picking buds and dreaming and folks who love me and go to such lengths to show it–I wouldn’t take a whole tea garden of camellias for that. Or all the money in the world.
Wishing you all a sense of joy and laughter in the midst of the unexpected.
Love to all.