“Now let no charitable hope
Confuse my mind with images
Of eagle and of antelope:
I am in nature none of these.
“I was, being human, born alone;
I am, being woman, hard beset;
I live by squeezing from a stone
The little nourishment I get.
“In masks outrageous and austere
The years go by in single file;
But none has merited my fear,
And none has quite escaped my smile”.
- Elinor Wylie
Three large koi survive in the now crystal clear pond. They are not used to being so exposed to eagle-eyed predators like the great heron or gophers with opposable thumbs fishing in the night. We had to put an old piece of plastic latticework into the pond to give them another place to hide. You can clearly see two in this picture. The silver/white one with black fishscale pattern is Becky. The third fish is visible at the bottom of the picture: his tail is all that is visible from above the rock.
But for close to twenty years, they have survived predations, weather, neglect and other hardships nature has thrown at them. I believe they will survive my spring pond cleaning.
We harvested a giant sunflower from the veggie garden this morning. Ms. Smarty Plants is keeping it with a few other flower heads as a demonstration when she leads school tours through The Water Conservation Garden.
Nature doesn’t waste a thing, although I doubt that hungry birds or foraging bunnies in the garden will harvest these particular seeds. Instead, gangs of elementary school children will learn that what I see as a beautiful geometric work of art is nature’s gift of nourishment for wildlife.
These days, I feel more like the spiky thistle. My aches and pains are harder to ignore after a morning in the garden. The artichoke flower pictured here is from wild roadside artichokes that offer little meat for people, so we decided to let them go to seed and attract pollinators for our tomatoes. Adapted to virtually no water while they grow, the artichoke/thistles are thriving in our irrigated garden.
Gardening as I age is a lesson in humility. I am not so adaptive as the thistle. But so far, no garden challenge has merited my fear and many still provide me with a smile.