Are we down to the wire, then? Is it really time to call it a day, chalk it all up to experience, put it out of its misery, remember the best and forget the rest?
I have what I am beginning to recognize as pre-nostalgia as I wander through my yard at sunset, trying to calculate how many jobs there are left before our property is worthy to be listed. The house has suffered the usual indignities from having been lived in by actual people, but the yard is a different creature than it was when we acquired it seven-plus years ago. I’m not saying it’s anything grand. It’s on the same life-support system that keeps the rest of our subdivision humming along. But nearly every inch of it has been replanted. By me. The same person who used to be too nervous to hack off withered branches because what if they were just playing dead and I actually murdered them with my clippers?
I’ve become someone who, unable to justify buying a new pair of shoes for three solid years, was nevertheless compelled to acquire a number of rather costly peonies to see if they would perform their magic in my yard (they did, spectacularly). More obsessively than I document my children do I take pictures of the same plant day after day, just to watch it change over the season. Yes, I am “that” woman who has a personal relationship with every tree in her yard, even the giant cottonwoods which will someday topple over and crush her house to the ground.
Please let it be after we move.
O twin sacs of withered flesh
Blasted by autumnal frost
Wrinkled wineskins, nothing fresh
Reminders of a youth that’s lost.
Smooth-skinned bags of ripe desire
That once you were, when love was cheap,
Have sagged; and now you must retire
To some putrescent compost heap.
Let me not at the surgence of small blobs
Admit euphoria, love is not love
Which postpones fructuous issue and thus robs
Me of the fruitage I am worthy of.
O no, the season has a fixèd mark,
August would have been the time to ballyhoo,
But you are not even in the ball park,
With your greenish pods, puny and too few.
Love suffers long—too long. Do not ignore
A rankled hausfrau’s loss of faith, young friend.
Pinchfist puttings-out got you the chop, before.
Indifferency will bring a bloody end.
If this be smallness where I should be big,
I never cared, nor ever gave a fig.
Oh you precious thing. Your father and I have waited and waited for this moment, and now here you are. You tried to hide under that leaf, but we saw you, little coquette! Has there ever been a more adorable alpine mignonette strawberry in the history of alpine mignonette strawberries? Mais non! Bisous, our sweet darling!
p.s. You have no father. That’s right, you’re a bastard. Were a bastard, actually.