"And here is a place with its own seasons, and in it I can grow juniper and papyrus alike – the one on the higher slopes and the other along the banks of the stream... Here coriander, parsley. These are my charges, now that my only child is far away..."
Jane Rawlings, The Penelopeia
Hungry tomato plants and wilting squash vines. The high summer, and things are beginning to die. The garden is having that late middle age crisis and beginning to burn with doubt about Spring’s exuberant promises. Naked ladies bloom in autumn; ghostly whispers of spring amid ageing blooms, past their prime, but refusing to go quietly. Winston Churchill said it was not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.
The inevitable, seasonal aging thing is beginning in my backyard and in the nearby veggie garden. Today the gardens are undergoing a shock of enlightenment – as when we stop thinking of Age as something that happens to Old People. Somebody’s Mom said God said, we could take anything we liked, and we could pay for it. The bill for the wild parties of youthful growth and flowering is coming due. Soon, my pumpkins will roll into the seasonal spotlight, trying to scare me and the rest of the yard to death.
My blog began in September, 2006, when my only child began nine months in the Middle East. Studying refugees in Amman, Jordan, and recently returned home. Over this past year, we blogged to maintain some visual contact, though separated by the center of the planet. (I should note that while this blog is personal, the other was a cultural anthropologist doing graduate research). I talked about my garden, as a not-too-subtle allegory for a safe refuge from what I perceived as my child’s reckless endangerment. We have both grown considerably since then, and become reacquainted again in person, now proudly playing what our Hollywood cohort would pitch as “mature roles”.
What fun! After some manic joy, I am now relaxing and enjoying having “the kids” a mere 2-hour drive away; crossing over borders no more threatening than the border between San Diego and the Inland Empire: where the direst warnings are about transporting fruit potentially infested with pests to threaten neighboring harvests.
Now is the time, at the tail end of this summer that seems virtually endless, to bring this year to an end while our families are reunited in Southern California. I’m getting into the seasonal swing of life. I will continue to think and to garden and to pontificate about the pretensions of being rich, white, and Medicare-eligible in the world’s last great superpower. Which means I intend to continue blogging and continue growing, and musing about the ways parents and their grown children everywhere continue to navigate uncertain times – together or apart.
Thus, one season ends and another begins.