Monday, June 16, 2008

turning the earth upside down


The angels a stranger left in my front garden while my family was trapped in Lebanon the summer of 2006 under Israeli bombing have weathered the storm. Artemisia, named after the goddess Diana, nestles behind their worn wings. The passage of time reveals that shouldering the worries of war has lasting effects. I wish all mothers had guardian angels sheltering their family members, too.

Garden escapees. Not content to stay within the retaining wall, some columbines, mountain bluets, Victoria blue salvia, and white honeysuckle have jumped to street level. They'll have none of my pruning and clipping. The photo is not out of kilter. The retaining wall is leaning south. The weight of the earth pressing behind her for 100 years has taken its toll. Dear, dear.

Pigsqueak. Bergenia Cordifolia. Also known as Heartleaf and Saxifragg. Place of origin: Siberia; hence, hardy. Blooms in early spring. Named for the sound of the leathery leaves rubbed between the fingers. Leaves turn a deep burnished maroon in Autumn. A tough perennial unlike the low-lying dwarf cedar behind her that bite the bullet this winter. The extreme cold winds this winter did her in. I'll have to dig her out. It won't be easy. She's been rooted there for years. Her trunk is low to the ground, but thick and gnarled. She bites you when you go near her with bare hands. She will resist her uprooting, but what else to do when evergreen leaves for good?

Siberian Iris. A meadow plant native to Asia. As Siberian irises like lots of moisture in spring, they are showcasing their purple pleasure of the frequent rains we've been having. Not too many folks are as pleased as these irises with the rain! Yet, perhaps the rain that keeps us indoors may provoke

Meditations with Julian of Norwich

Be a gardener
dig a ditch,
toil and sweat,
and turn the earth upside down
and seek the deepness
and water the plants in time.
Continue this labor
and make sweet floods run
and noble and abundant fruits
to spring.
Take this food and drink
and carry it to God
as your true worship.

~ Julian of Norwich

2 comments:

marja-leena said...

I love the angels in your garden! What a sweet thing that stranger did during a difficult time for you and your family!

northshorewoman said...

yes, you can't imagine the effect of such a seemingly small gift. I had been feeling so terribly ...terrified and this token of someone reaching out was balm to the soul. A random act of kindness. Our world is a beautiful place, full of beautiful people. I remind myself of that when things look so gloomy and so hopeless.