P is so easy. First off, there are the plans I have starting Sunday, to see all of my children over the course of only one week!! (I see that I have nicknamed three of my children with P names, too.) Kate is flying out from DC to see all the family before she starts her new job, and we will make a grand zigzagging tour to see the families of Soldier, Pathfinder, Pippin and Pearl, in that order.
So I need to get my place in order here, which mostly means planting. This week I bought a couple dozen pots of ornamentals, because I don’t have the patience to do the seed thing right now, and also I wouldn’t be here to water them next week when they would need constant moisture. I bought pincushion flowers and penstemons, just to mention the plants with “P” names.
My recent method of filling in the spaces in my landscape works like this: I go to the nurseries and see if they have anything that looks familiar to me, that I know from experience or from my research last summer that is both unthirsty and pleases me. I bring the plants home, and wander around for a while studying my 3-D horticultural canvas that has already been extensively “painted.” Each plant has color and shape, and I try to guess if it might, in a year or two, complement and fit in with what is already here. If I tried to do this process more systematically, it would not happen.
For five months I’ve been looking at pots to buy, in which to plant my two mismatched olive trees, and this week I finally made the big decision and brought some home. I’ve been using my little cart quite a bit to haul these pots, bags of planting mix, and pavers to put under the potted olives.
I’m still not sure that grey-white is a good color for the space, but it seems prudent to wait on that judgment until after the garden has grown up more around them. Twice in one week I heard the adage about what to expect from a newly installed landscape: The first year it sleeps, the second year it creeps, the third year it leaps. If after the leap, I decide I don’t like the color of these pots, I could paint them. They are made of fiberglass and have a matte and somewhat rough finish that would take paint well.
I did spy some appealing poppy seeds when I was in the nursery — it’s risky going to those places! — and they can be planted in the fall, so that’s good.
After all my labors in the afternoon yesterday I slept well, to a point. Then I was awake for several pre-dawn hours. At first my mind fretted about all those projects that loom in my life, most of which never even get started, everything from cleaning the garage and pruning the rosemary, re-landscaping the front yard and remodeling the great room, to what I suspect are more important things like writing letters and visiting distant friends. But I couldn’t do much about any of that at 4:00 a.m., so I stayed where I was and continued my reading in the novel Laurus.
It is a philosophical book in the way that The Brothers Karamazov is, and a book that reveals the depths of the human spirit across the ages the way that Kristin Lavransdatter does. (Thanks to my reader Beth for reminding me of that.) It makes me think about the essential goal of my own life, far beyond “projects,” to acquire the Holy Spirit.
Both of my housemates were gone overnight, and though I’m sure the house was no quieter for the lack of them breathing in other rooms, I became aware of the silence, and was surprised by it. No traffic sounds intruded, no clocks ticked, and I felt the quietness like a tonic to my body, soul, and spirit, calming even my thoughts. Maybe the Lord woke me so that He could give me that gift, because the silence had presence, and it was the presence of Peace.