I needed a break from all the sadness, all the disappointment, all the horror.
I opened Sports Illustrated and saw a picture of a man in a wheelchair, with bloody bones hanging below his kneecaps. I'm sure I was meant to concentrate on the heroes pushing him and staunching his bleeding, but those missing limbs are imprinted on my brain, two days later, as I type to you.
The barely-30-something EMT from West, Texas, is living in my head, too.
He "lost everything - "friends, home, everything" - in an explosion in a place with no zoning.
Honestly, would you put a middle school or a care home within spitting distance of a fertilizer factory?
The town's volunteer fire fighters ran toward the burning building.... and then it exploded, taking them with it.
My first cousin is a volunteer firefighter, has been since he was a teenager. He tells me that I am a hero for taking three bullets and surviving. I always counter with "But you run into burning buildings - You are the hero." I've never felt it as strongly as I have this week.
JannyLou and Fast Eddie have been checking in all week, wondering if we are doing any better than they are. I can't say that the answer is clear to me, even now. I have low-lying anxiety around the edges of my consciousness. Little Cuter has been checking in a little more frequently. Big Cuter is posting about my being shot on Facebook. There is healing, but there is no escape.
What to do?
I go to the garden.
Today is Earth Day, a holiday I've celebrated since witnessing its birth in 1970.
It's not every hobby that has its own day; I feel very special every year.
Now, after last week's disappointments and disasters, I need some peace.
The daminita bloom without much prompting.
TBG notes that they are encroaching on the walkway, but he'll just have to live with it.
I'm still working on getting it to fill in the holes on the top.
The aloes don't need much help, either.
This one lives on the side of the house, and has irrigation.
This one lives under the big palo verde, and gets no irrigation at all.
They are different species of the same plant and they both seem to love my desert dirt.
Even better, they send out shoots which can be transplanted.
It's too bad that last winter's freeze killed those babies.
Next year, I will remember to cover them up; I'm saving old sheets for just that occasion.
The hesperaloe are sending up their stalks, again without much help at all.
That cholla to the left is a volunteer which is enjoying the little bit of irrigation that flows to its neighbor.
I love it when a plan comes together, even if it's nature's plan and not mine.
The intermittent but strong storms we had this winter fed the ocotillo and the palo verde.
Though I like the orange through the yellow, the blossoms are even more spectacular when isolated.
The cacti aren't far behind this season.
I have all sorts of prickly pear colors in the yard.
The ground squirrels climb up the pads and decapitate the spent pods.
There's a lot of fine dining going on underground these days.
I'm watching them carry the tunas into their holes as I type.
The trichocerus I planted last year is blooming with a vengeance.
This is what it looked like yesterday afternoon.
This is what greeted JannyLou and me this morning.
The bearded iris rhizomes I smuggled in from California have never done anything.....
until this year. I guess it took them a while to get used to the new dirt. I'm feeling pretty smug; I managed to plant them right outside my desk window; I see them all day, every day. Now, when Artess tells me the clematis she inherited when I moved is climbing her trellis, I can look at these iris and not feel so bereft. Gardening in Marin was heavenly.......
and things actually grew.
Long time readers may remember the oleander that would not die... but would not grow, either.
I transplanted it two years ago, and my patience has, finally, been rewarded.
There are small white buds just waiting to burst forth.
Gardening is not for those without faith.
I did some work on the containers, too.
Pictures of the finished product will follow, once the blooms hit their peak.
For now, I leave you with a chuckle.
Carting my supplies from the car to the courtyard has been an issue since my hip was shattered.
I've used a dolly (too low), a wheelbarrow (too ungainly to remove from the shed), and Elizibeth's strong back for the last two years, but this week I realized that G'ma's wheelchair, sitting in the corner of the garage while it awaits our next grand adventure, makes the perfect shlepper.
I can even use it as a chair
or as a pouring spout.
Happy Earth Day, Denizens!
Go out and plant a tree!