Monday, May 05, 2008

My Recursive Morning

“The deeper a man digs for knowledge in his garden the more he realizes that he has only scratched the surface.” Anonymous

Today looks like a mirror facing a mirror with me in the middle. The ever-smaller me is reflected into infinity, vanishing into a distance that bounces back recursively to right now. Looking at the old person in the mirror, I must remind myself that objects in the mirror are funnier than they may appear.

This overcast Monday morning, the flat light illuminates everything evenly, without shadows. The sights make thoughts of gardens past ricochet around inside my head, briefly lighting up old memories – like the porch swing in the house on Dallas Avenue, and the bed of violets and lilies of the valley beneath the screen door leading into the back yard. Was it the shade of a hydrangea or a lilac bush where these modest woodland plants grew? Because I was small, I remember the small flowers better than the bush that was bigger than I. These sparks of memory suddenly appear less than random; taking a direction inside my skull and pointing the path to the future – to the dreadful years to come. What gardens have I yet to design, to plant, to nurture, to inhabit?

My train of thought careens through groves of digression into old memories, garden corners containing undiscovered clues to meaning, and curves back to today – to the overcast sky, and the absence of shadows. The garden this morning is gray and uninviting. I have work to do inside. A quick pass to visit the baby sunflowers, the struggling basil, the flourishing potatoes that need more soil heaped on top of the vines. Thinking about my Mom and her (mostly unfulfilled) gardening visions.

For her I think – and for me too apparently – gardens represented the opportunity to dream, to plan, to recall, and to execute visions only the gardener sees. I wish I could grow lilies of the valley here in San Diego, but they don’t survive. I’ve finally got some dog violets that insist on blooming even though they’d like a lot more water than they’re allotted. Who wouldn’t?

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