Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tending Our Garden

April 26, 2009

Yesterday evening, my partner and I visited with friends to celebrate the purchase of their first home together. Being from the South, we didn't go empty handed. The new place is sorely lacking flowers, so we dug the first clump of hosta and took it along. I have more perennials to give them: daylily, astilbe, sedem, yarrow, peony, iris, poppies, tigerlily. Next spring, the border along their back fence will not be so bare.

Along with the flowers, my hubby made a few birdhouses to give them, and a wine bottle incense burner for their new deck furniture. I think he should make them a bat house, too. I'll even paint it for him. (No need to make bats in belfry jokes. I took care of that 'long about dusk.)

It was nice to sit with them and feel their happiness. Starting over at fifty seems daunting to me, but sometimes it's the only choice a person has. Maybe that's one of the reasons why we like our 'happily ever after/happy for as long we can be" endings. The constant starting over in new relationships, while exhilarating, is also draining.

But having to start over when you've passed those milestone birthdays also gives a person a different perspective. You know yourself a lot better, and so does your partner. "Who's the boss?" no longer matters as much, if at all. You learn to carefully pick and choose your battles, and a pair sneakers and dirty socks left by the recliner for one night is hardly worth noticing much less starting a fight over. (Besides, in my house, if you leave things lay it's at your own risk. We have a Lab and he can't resist old socks.)

I think this is why so many of my characters are a bit older than the norm, more mature. They've pared life down to what is really important, and the cap on the toothpaste ain't it. A pair of socks not making the hamper for six hours while everyone, even the dog, is asleep ain't it. With maturity comes the desire to tend those things that feed the soul - acceptance of others, caring for those you love, kindness in small things, tolerance of the human condition, and most importantly, love.

So this morning I'm going show a little love and rescue my partner's socks from the dog. Maybe they won't be full of holes, maybe they will be. Whether they end up in the laundry or the trash doesn't matter. What matters is I tend the garden that is our life.

And if I'm ever too tired to get my socks to the hamper for one night, maybe he'll spot them before the dog does and remember that at least I tried to save his, and save mine.

KC Kendricks

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