An Almost Silent Spring

Every gardener in Houston knows the significance of February 14th.   Never mind Valentine’s Day,  it’s the traditional time to trim back rose bushes.  The actual pruning may take place on the 18th, or the 26th, or even March 1st for the lazy or preoccupied, but the ritual pruning of the roses means only one thing.  Spring is on the way.

I don’t have roses, but I have three large pots filled with  Cape Honeysuckle.  A beautiful shrub native to South Africa, its  red-orange blossoms resemble tiny versions of the trumpet vine flower and attract butterflies and hummingbirds galore.  Shortly after the 14th, I gave all three a serious pruning, and settled back to watch them fill out.  As February gave way to March and March  began to draw ever more closely toward April,  the plants sprouted new growth with a vengeance while I vacillated between restlessness and a strange lethargy.  Even as the honeysuckle climbed toward the sun,  I declined into a sense of anxiety and unease.   The days grew longer and the temperatures  warmed,  but the world seemed monochromatic and dull.  Looking around, I experienced no seasonal anticipation, no delight in the world’s renewal.  It hardly felt like Spring.

In the midst of my decline, friends in Dallas and Oklahoma began to post photos of their own harbingers of Spring. I grew curious and more than a little confused. Why were pear and plum trees blooming  in Dallas, two hundred miles to the north, when my neighborhood redbuds hadn’t begun to flower?  When folks in Kansas and the Carolinas began to brag on their  narcissus, crocus and daffodils, I still hadn’t seen a dandelion. 

Eventually, I realized anew that more than homes, businesses and boats had fallen victim to Hurricane Ike.  The suffering and loss endured by the natural world had been hidden by the dormancy of Winter.  With the  passage of the Spring equinox and the turning of the season, the full extent of the damage was becoming clear.  Massive live oaks stripped of their leaves by wind and innundated by salt water showed no sign of new growth.  Cypress, always bare through the winter, were refusing to leaf out.   Stopping at a pretty, anonymous tree I pass every day, I bent the end of a twig. It snapped off cleanly with the sharp, easy crack that says “dead”.  Reaching farther up the limb, I bent a larger twig, and found more dead wood.  I stopped and turned away, unwilling to explore further.

In the neighborhoods, confusion clearly reigned in the plant world.  Many redbuds never bloomed, and pears were putting on leaves before blossoms appeared.  The Indian hawthorne was late, the azaleas hardly noticeable. Crepe myrtles and palms seemed fine, but many shrubs were brittle and yellow.

Even worse than the damage and confusion was the complete absence of so much we’d taken for granted.  Ditches always filled with bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush were clogged with salted debris.  Once-rich beds of iris and amaryllis were reduced to a few sad blooms. Across whole neighborhoods, the little grace notes of life had fallen silent.  Gone were the brick walkways bordered with marigolds, the trellises, the tumbles of begonias and baskets of bougainvillea that could drench a day with showers of salmon and magenta reflections.   Where lantana and petunias once grew, chunks of concrete foundation piled higher as hibiscus, loquat and lilies struggled to survive.  Orange and lemon trees were bulldozed while planters once filled with geraniums and daisies were turned into ashtrays and trash bins.

In some neighborhoods,  garden after garden has been replaced by patches of empty, sand-covered dirt as homeowners wait for construction to begin.  The houses can be rebuilt in a year, but it will take more than a few years to replace the beauty and complexity of the gardens.  Whatever its style, a real garden requires time, commitment and care, and many of these gardeners never will live to see their dreams flower in quite the same way.  A garden is far more than a carload of plants from Home Depot or Lowes, and certainly more than the new flowers now planted at our intersections and in front of apartment complexes.  Those flower beds are neat and tidy, but they’re absolutely identical from one location to the next.  For all practical purposes they’re “rent-a-flowers”, and in three months they’ll be replaced by something else.  They add a bit of color to the landscape, but have nothing to do with gardens, or with all of the love, curiosity, surprise and delight that gardens bring.   

As one of my gardening friends put it after watching  a front-loader drive through her salvia and dusty miller beds, “This year we’re going to have to take what Mother Nature offers.”  Her off-handed remark was my salvation.  Instead of exhausting myself watching for signs of a normal spring, I began looking around to see what was happening despite the extraordinary circumstances.

This past, utterly gloomy and damp Tuesday, I was driving down a main street through town when I happened to glance across the esplanade and noticed a flash of gold in a vacant lot.  An impulsive u-turn later, I pulled into the lot and discovered a stand of gallardia-like flowers shining as though lit from within.  Looking around, I was astonished.  There were sunflowers  scattered here and there, and a bit of scraggly wisteria climbing the telephone pole. There was a mysterious white berry with flowers along a collapsed fence, and the tiniest but most vibrant little coral-colored  flowers I’d ever seen.  There were tall purple things and creeping purple things.  There was a remnant of a white geranium on what appeared to have been a trash heap, and yellow-green blossoms the size of a pinhead scattered throughout it all.  In that single vacant lot, I found at least a dozen varieties of wild flowers, all  passed by hundreds – if not thousands – of motorists a day, none of whom saw more than a glimpse of the taller flowers.

I was so astonished I made two more stops at vacant lots, one next to a boat chandlery and one in a neighborhood which itself had gone to seed since the storm.  There were fields of white and pink primroses, lantana of all sorts, more wisteria, and great sweeps of tall, graceful yellow and purple flowers I couldn’t identify.  It was truly astonishing.  In the midst of a world where human gardens had been swept away like so much scattered seed , Mother Nature had moved in and strewn her gifts with a generous hand.  It was not that the beauty of flowers was missing from the world.  They only had moved, taken on new forms, and were waiting to be discovered. They were, in fact, hiding in plain sight.

After finding the third flower-strewn lot, I called my friend and said, “Get your camera.  There’s something you need to see.”  For the next two hours, we stalked the urban wildflower, amazed at the variety and profusion we found.  Later, as I enjoyed and processed the photos, it was clear the temporary trowel-for-camera trade had been worthwhile. 

As with so many things in this post-hurricane world, things rarely are as they were.  But it surely is Spring, and  the grace notes are starting to sound ~ one  exquisite blossom at a time. 

Comments are welcome.  To leave a comment or respond, please click below.
Published in: on March 27, 2009 at 6:06 pm  Comments (19)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: http://shoreacres.wordpress.com/2009/03/27/an-almost-silent-spring/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

19 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Beautiful, Linda. Funny how, when we shift just a little, and alter our expectations, we are rewarded in unexpected ways. The Stones are no Annie Dillard but Mick got it right when he sang ‘You can’t always get what you want – But if you try sometimes – well you might find You get what you need’.

    I love the Cape Honeysuckle – it grows like a weed here and I tend to take it for granted – looking at your photo of it made me see how lovely it is.

    Jeannine,

    Speaking of shifting expectations, there’s always that little “weed” / “not weed” discussion. I’m sure many people would have looked at my vacant lots and seen nothing but weeds, but my definition of wildflower is as expansive as it gets.

    As for the Stones, why not? Truth is truth no matter where it’s found, and if it’s got a beat – even better!

    Linda

  2. We had the same experience here in the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina. Everything seemed so sad without the lovely gardens we had become so used to seeing, especially in spring time. While it is encouraging to see the isolated groups of flowers popping up, the good news is that next year things will be better. Gardens and flowers will be replanted, showing signs that the land and the people are recovering.

    Jan
    Always Growing

    Jan,

    And of course, you wouldn’t begin a symphony with the grace notes! They’ll come later, once more basic structures have been put in place.

    I did experience my “spring unease” as a good reminder that even months after such an event, new losses become apparent and need to be dealt with. It not only takes time to rebuild, it takes time to understand what needs to be rebuilt. Everyone understands the human need for housing. The human need for beauty isn’t always so obvious.

    Best wishes to you and all in Louisiana and Mississippi as the recovery goes on.

    Linda

  3. I am on the other side of the universe. Spring here in the northern hill country is so overwhelming that you don’t see the small things. I was watching a bee going about his business by my window. While watching I noticed tiny blooms on the bush that I never noticed. Later in the day while smelling the dirt in my garden I noticed little buds on “weeds”.

    I learned I have to narrow my focus to see all that is around. Looking off at the hills you see spring, but you just don’t “see what spring is”.

    Ken

    Ken,

    Don’t those perspectives make a difference! In the very beginning of spring, I love looking through the trees to see the leafing. If you look right at them, you can’t see a thing. But if you look through, the faint haze of green is visible. And as you say, eventually you have to narrow the focus or it’s just blurs and splashes of color. Wonderful.

    But sometimes, spring slaps us right in the face. I’ve been working on a trawler over at Lakewood. Every day, I “talked” with a pair of ducks that hung out by the water hose. A couple of weeks ago, I left for lunch. When I came back, just an hour later, there were two duck eggs on the “Welcome Aboard” mat in front of the aft door. The ducks and I had a little discussion about the finer points of nesting, and they’ve gone on to a more satisfactory location. But that’s spring – when it’s time, it’s time!

    Linda

  4. Linda,

    I miss my garden very much. Our perennial beds need attention. While I was reading this post, I turned to my husband and told him that I’d like to start a perennial bed here this year. We planted sunflowers in the vegetable garden for the birds last year, but nothing replaces an old fashioned butterfly/bee garden. I love how busy they become with little things buzzing around.

    “the beauty and complexity of the gardens”

    That line made me so sad. It truly captures the effort and time that goes into the making of a garden, and a gardener understands the loss of such a thing. Some things can not be easily replaced.

    Of all the things you’ve written, this made me understand the depth of loss in your area. I was so happy when your eye found the signs of renewal. So pleased.

    Bella

    Bella,

    It’s all a little sadder when you know the people attached to those brick walkways and trellises. Two of the homes with the most beautiful gardens were completely innundated and are gone now, with new construction starting soon. One belongs to a couple in their 80s, and the other to a woman who certainly could be 85 or older. All three have been in their houses for decades – the woman used to watch cattle graze from her front window, and picked dewberries where today’s school is. But both have bird feeders up at the edge of their properties, and someone left a potted geranium at one. Step by step, they’ll come back, and when the time to begin gardening comes, they’ll have help.

    That’s one of the beauties of this part of the country – things can flourish and grow nearly all year ’round.

    I think it would be wonderful to have a perennial garden where you are now. For one thing, there’s not much I can think of that’s more satisfying and relaxing that pottering in the dirt, renewing a connection with the earth. And in a very real sense, you’ve lost “your” garden, too. It would be nice to transplant that little bit of home to your “second home”.

    Linda

  5. I agree with Bella. I never fully grasped the consequences of Ike (people still speak of Katrina up here, but Ike has somehow been forgotten) until I read this piece. Glad you made that ‘impulsive u-turn’ and found what Nature hid ‘in plain sight’ for you. Her hand was generous, indeed.

    P.S. Thanks for the comment you left on my blog. Forgive me; I am still thinking…

    ds,

    Well, Katrina was remarkable not only for the hurricane, but for the nature of New Orleans, that made her effects linger, and for the degree of bureaucratic bungling, which kept her on the late night talk shows forever. Mississippi suffered from Katrina, too, but not much is said about that any longer. Maybe Mississippi and Ike just needed better agents.

    I’ve been trying to sort something out, and I think this might be it. There’s a difference between “effects” and “consequences”. In the beginning, people see the effects of storms – the piled up boats, the flooded houses, the penninsulas swept completely clean – but it takes time for consequences to become clear. Effects can be so big they’re almost cartoonish, and they’re great fodder for newscasts. Consequences have a more human scale, and sometimes are surprisingly hidden – like me, suddenly turning around and saying, “Hey! What happened to spring?”

    The most unnerving thing is that we’re just about two months from this year’s hurricane season. But the building and planting will go on.

    Linda

  6. Linda, you are making me long for a warm Spring or Summer. As you may already know, even though it’s Spring, we are still fighting off Winter here in Upper Midwest. I love snow as much as anyone around here, but I’m more than ready for the beauty of green grass and trees and the pretty flowers and the warmth that they represent.

    At least I can come to your blog and enjoy a little Spring, even if it’s only a dream at this point for us.

    mntornado,

    And it’s not just winter you’re fighting off. Spring can be the proverbial double-edged sword when it comes to the kind of flooding that’s taking place. “Regular” flooding is bad enough. Historic flooding tests people as well as dikes in significant ways. I’ve been keeping an eye on it through your blog.

    At least it’s almost April, and winter will be sent packing. I’ll bet the folks in the Texas Panhandle with seven foot snowdrifts are with you in wishing for the coming of Spring!

    Linda

  7. Lovely post and pictures. I found you through your comment on my blog, and I’m glad I did.

    damyantig,

    Thank you so much for stopping by. I’m glad you enjoyed your visit!

    Linda

  8. Linda, once more you manage to paint a wonderful picture.

    I have just been in my garden for an hour or so, moving plants and potting up some “smiling faces” (pansies). It isn’t just a hurricane that can kill off plants. I have lost many mature shrubs this winter due to months of rain, which soaked into the clay soil making it squelchy. This was followed by weeks of snow and frost, which hardened the clay to gun-metal, making it difficult for any living thing to get through it. Here I also include the bugs, beetles, slugs and worms that live beneath the surface of the soil.

    But “Mother Nature” is wonderful. Your description of plants and flowers springing up on vacant lots proves we don’t have to have a hand in painting the landscape, nature does it well enough without our intervention. Deserts can remain barren for years, even generations, but give the soil a little moisture in the form of a rain shower or two, and up spring a mosaic carpet of the most delicate blooms.

    As to your hypothetical discussion about weeds, my philosophy is, they are just “plants out of place”.

    Sandi

    Sandi,

    I saw your comment elsewhere about the year being a third gone, and it does seem as though time is literally “flying”. I’m glad you found the time to visit this little entry, because you were one I thought of while I was writing it. Gardening surely can be an art, as much as painting or sculpture, and the photos I’ve seen of your garden prove that.

    I love that you reminded me of the deserts. I chose to drive from Texas to California for a summer session once, and discovered myself in the middle of the desert while it was in full bloom. I’d never seen anything like it, and haven’t since – the reds and oranges, yellow and pinks were simply gorgeous under that deep, almost turquoise sky.

    I laughed at your comment that more than a hurricane can kill off plants – I’ve done a bit of that myself! Lucky that Mother Nature is willing to help heal our mistakes and inattentiveness. Here’s to a summer filled with sun and breezes and no squelchiness!

    Linda

  9. Ahhh Linda – you touched on what I love to see. I see the beauty in anything that grows wild. My husband and I will walk down the street and notice the unusual growth – or what some call ‘weeds’. It’s only a weed if you don’t want it there! Some rather beautiful flowers are considered weeds, but just find the beauty in them!

    That’s kind of why my yard is a hodge podge…if it grows, it stays, if it’s green, and I like it, it stays. Doesn’t matter the ‘name’ what matters is the beauty I see in it!

    I’m not surprised about the salt killing a lot, though. Something has hit our liquid amber tree in the backyard, and like the twigs that you snapped off, ours are doing the same. We planted it as a sapling, and it tugs at my heart strings to take it down, but take it down we must. We’ll save the wood for camping trips, and my daughter’s father-in-law, who is a wood worker, has asked for trunk like sizes. If the wood is good, he’ll make bowls or something. Our younger daughter has even suggested leaving the trunk about waist high and making a table out of it. I think we might just do that, as the roots are so large that in itself is going to be a job getting them out!

    Karen,

    I love the point you and Sandi both make about weeds being nothing more than “flowers out of place”. Definition is everything, especially in this regard. I have a dear, dear friend who lives in a rather upscale part of Houston, albeit in a small, old house in the midst of huge homes that have sprouted up around her. One day, the city bureaucracy showed up on her step in the form of an inspector from the “beautification” department (or whatever it actually was called). They were fussing at her because her yard was full of weeds.
    She promptly marched the woman into the back yard and said, “Those aren’t weeds, those are wildflowers that I am allowing to go to seed, in order to aid their propagation.” She won that round! Weeds bad, wildflowers good!

    It’s too bad about your liquid amber tree. We had a pair of birch trees in the front yard of the house I grew up in. Eventually, Dad had to take them down, but they kept some of the pretty logs and put them in the fireplace during the summer. When mom moved out of the house, I kept the logs and carted them all over the country with me, until I finally landed in a place with no fireplace and thought, “This is a little silly.” But still – I loved those trees.

    Thanks so much for stopping by ~ it’s always such a pleasure when you do!

    Linda

  10. I am so glad you found those beautiful wildflowers to sustain you.

    After Ivan we got off lucky, only losing a pecan and a few roses but the gardens in town were pretty much destroyed. The town seemed very bare and plain the first spring after the storm.

    People replanted, it just took a little time. While nothing can replace the thousands of trees destroyed, the storm did open up quite a bit of land for flowers and shrubs to grow.

    Oh, and thank you for sharing your pictures.

    Kit,

    One of the greatest sorrows for Galveston residents after Ike was the damage done to the trees on the main thoroughfares and esplanades. Many of the huge live oaks that were inundated by the surge were planted after the Storm of 1900, and have been sheltering the city ever since. There’s been a terrific replanting program started, and the Texas A&M arborists and others moved in fast to begin remediation after the storm. We’ll not know how the trees fared for a while yet.

    Irony of ironies, when I drove home this evening, the flowers were gone. Every one. Someone had come in and mowed the vacant lot. No more sunflowers or gallardia or any of the rest of it. I don’t understand why those things must be done, but I suspect it’s nothing more than city workers being on a schedule. It was time to mow, so they mowed, flowers be darned. Perhaps I’ll write a totally snarky tale called “Beauty and the Bureaucracy”.

    That’s all right. One little patch of flowers was discovered, and captured and shared. Score one for beauty.

    Linda

  11. I don’t usually tear up when I read blog posts, even the most eloquent or the saddest. And yet, here I sit with watery eyes and a smile. You have found the sun in these renegade gardens. You have found survival against all odds — natural and human. And you have found beauty. Don’t you love finding something beautiful where it is least expected? I do. It’s like a wee, precious gift, one to which we must pay attention, for it was given to us with purpose.

    No one but perhaps you knows the purpose of your gift, but I’d like to think part of the reason was so you could share it with us.

    jeanie,

    And as I mentioned to Kit, above, one lesson here is that we need to pay attention, and mark well what we find, because it doesn’t always stay. To see the little “garden” gone, to discover someone had mowed it to the ground, was as much a shock as finding it was a delight. How quickly we can lose those gifts that come our way – and how amazing that what one person sees as a gift and a treasure, someone else sees only as an annoyance or a chore. Beyond that, how sad that they couldn’t die a natural death, rather than being destroyed.

    On the other hand, those flowers might have bloomed and died unseen. But they were seen, and they brought pleasure and joy even while they occasioned thought. That’s a darned good life, even for a lot of weeds!

    It’s always so good to have you stop by ~ we’ll just have to find a few new flowers!

    Linda

  12. What an enlightening and touching post.I never considered what Ike or Katrina would do in this regard, long term, although it’s not surprsing. And nature will provide the oil paintings, so to speak.

    Here in New England, where we had (by New England standards) an easy winter, there is still snow on the ground after several days of rain and 45 – 60 degree days. The snowbanks created by plows pushing it away are still a couple feet tall and lakes still have ice. Some years it’s this way in late April. But always, in the woods on my property, there are glorious wildflowers no matter how long the winter or how short the growing season. I think nature means for us to have this splash of color, this reminder that some things are beyond our control or don’t need our intervention at all.

    Ella,

    I’d never considered what Ike might do long-term, either. I suppose that’s why it took me a while to identify the source of my unease as the season changed. And there is some difference even in the natural world between wind damage and surge damage. Where surge is the issue, trees and shrubs may be left standing, but the effects on the soil linger and don’t show up so quickly.

    The other surprise for me was how utterly silent the world was in the aftermath. It took time for the birds, the fish, even the insects to reappear. I still remember the first evening I heard a night heron outside my window – never been so happy to hear a bird in my life!

    I love your image of the flowers in the woods. We always forced branches of forsythia in the house – that bit of color was so welcome after the long midwestern winter. In those days, an early bunch of blooming forsythia was what passed for our “stimulus package”.

    Linda

  13. I thought about it Linda, why I was so touched by this post. It is also because I now live in a land of rains and summer, where there is no place for spring, no cycle of hibernation and renewal. I miss my own land, where the four seasons are clearly marked, and where my parents must be enjoying the delights of spring.

    damyantig,

    I grew up in Iowa, a land of four seasons, and I do miss them. I confess that living with winter doesn’t sound so appealing, especially as I get older, but the change from one season to the next is beautiful and reassuring.

    Perhaps one of the gifts of these “seasonless” places is that they help to make us more sensitive. There are changes, but you have to look a little more closely to find them. That’s never a bad thing!

    Linda

  14. There is so much in the path of a huricane that passes unnoticed for someone who does not live where it passed by. Thank you for sharing and widening my views.

    This night I dreamt that my husband had bought us a new house. A new, modern house. And a equally new, modern and therefore a garden with the size of a stamp. The house – sure, but my garden! No, I didn’t want to leave my garden.

    It is not a marvel of beauty and care, my garden, but I love it. I love to see it burst from gray-brown to green in April, flower in May-June and pick the berries and fruits from July to August.

    I cannot imagine what it would be like if all the gardens in the neighborhood, including my own, were ruined.

    Désirée,

    The wonder, of course, is that it does come back. It never will be the same, but it will live, and take on forms that we may not be able to imagine now. I do understand your feelings for your garden. Gardens are alive, and we develop relationships with them just as we do with other people, or animals. I have a friend or two who laughs at my willingness to talk to trees and flowers, but why not? They talk to me, and it seems only polite to respond!

    Linda

  15. Many years ago I visited Kettunen Center, a 4-H camp owned by Michigan State University. While there a naturalist was conducting a wildflower walk. I had some time so I signed up. I knew nothing about wildflowers. As we walked along the trails he would stop and point out this flower or that. At first I saw nothing. I was looking for flowers the size of tulips. I had to learn that most wildflowers are not large or showy and that one must work to find them and appreciate their charms

    A few years later I became a serious photographer of wildflowers, so much so that several of my images were included in the 2001 version of Audubon’s Field Guide to Wildflowers, Eastern Region.

    Already this spring I have seen Galanthus (Snow Drops) and very soon I will be able to visit my favorite patch of Bloodroot. Indeed there is so much to see and learn at our feet if only we take the time to stop, kneel down and look. Thanks for the reminder.

    Mike,

    Now I know what Bloodroot looks like. It’s beautiful. While I was looking around, I had to chuckle – some wildflowers with the most interesting names and prettiest blooms, like Gill Over the Ground, were scolded on the lists for crossing that line into weeddom. And I should add that a horticulturalist has told me the beautiful bunch of yellow I photographed is cosmos.

    Many of the flowers I found in the lots had blooms less than 1/2″ in diameter – in some cases, only 1/4″. Coral, purple, yellow and pink – all on plants no higher than a few inches above the ground. It must have been delightful to photograph them, and have your work recognized.

    Even though wildflowers don’t move around much, or travel, or have jobs or relationships, I thought about them when reading about Cartier-Bresson’s “decisive moment”. The quotation in the wiki seems to apply here, as well: “Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera. That is the moment the photographer is creative… Once you miss it, it is gone forever.”

    Enjoy your coming spring!

    Linda

  16. I was filled with joy to find another Ike survivor who watched our Texas spring unfold with fear/trepidation/thanksgiving/joy. Much was lost (40 foot pecan that thankfully did not crush house and whose nut bounty we will miss) and a glorious 15 foot fig (thank you dear tree for your annual fruit gift to me and the Mockingbirds). Much was gained – a huge herb garden that never appreciated the shade of the aforementioned trees and the opportunity to find Black Swallowtail larvae on our dill plant. We as a neighborhood have also watched as trees such as our local median planted Bradford Pears lost and gained and relost and regained their leaves. Now I’m not so sure about their lives; when you scrape the trunk nothing appears green. And what about the birds? The migratory patterns have changed; we saw hummingbirds in March and goldfinches in April??? Yet we also see more Red-Bellied Woodpeckers and Screech Owls than ever before.

    We learned through the media that many of the century-old oak trees in Galveston are dead due to the salt water surge, we also see signs of life in other areas. Different life, yes, certainly, but life.

    Here in our Southwest Houston neighborhood we spent solemn days paying respect as broken and dying trees were removed and stacked at the curb. Some sat with me and watched through the horror and tears of removal of my beloved trees. Other neighbors honored me and my lost pecan tree by serving dinners smoked over its wood. Others paid homage to a neighbor’s oak by taking the wood to dry and carve another year into awesome works of art.

    Perhaps Spring is always in our hearts, even as we await the summer/fall in fear????

    Pat,

    I have driven to Galveston innumerable times this spring, just to look at the grand oaks, hoping for that bit of green that’s a sign of hope. Some are going to make it. Others, of course, will not – there was too much salt, for too long, But it warms the heart to see people struggling to save them – there is something about the trees that is rooted in more than the ground.

    The neighborhood I wrote about here is coming back. Two of the gardens I referenced above are gone, but the empty lots are empty no more. There are houses, now, and people living in them again (well above the surge, I might add!) One of the women has echoed exactly your point – life is different, but life goes on. Where there was too much shade for one kind of plant, there now is sun. Where there was sometimes just the “same old – same old”, there is novelty and the chance to make some decisions about who kind of surroundings to have.

    As we move toward summer, it seems unbearably unfair that we have to begin thinking again about the storms. But we’ve survived this one, and we’ll survive whatever comes.

    Thanks so much for stopping by, and for your comment.

    Linda

  17. This is such a unique post – unique and beautiful. From the fire and ashes, the phoenix flies! Madre Tierra finds her way to recovery, and in doing so, gives us hope and encouragement in the rebirth of wildflowers. This post deserves a much-larger audience. Z

    • zeebradesigns,

      If nothing else, perhaps a repost will come along. Just now, we’re all filled with anxiety as we watch Debby cruising around the Gulf. My town just has spent a good deal of time and money planting an old, big, and historically significant oak tree. The last thing we need is a storm coming in and wreaking havoc until the roots have reestablished – or even begun the process. But we can’t control that.

      Ironically, after last year’s drought, we had a spectacular year for wildflowers. Nature does have her own ways of coping and compensating!

      Linda

      • Debbie – oh my! i’ve not been tuned into any news and was not aware of a debbie making threats. thanks so much; i will tune my connection to wunderground tropical! thanks and good luck, z


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,290 other followers