Skip to main content

Nothing to be planted, Taking nought for granted

Ysabel de la Rosa

It is a small pilgrimage for many of us: the trip to the nursery or home supply store to buy plants for spring. This year, in my part of the state, there are almost no plants for the buying. Here, all the world's a Stage 4: no watering outdoors. Spring has never felt so somber.

Standing bythe shelves that used to carry vinca, impatiens, petunias, marigolds, veronica, salvia, and so many other "friends," I feel bone-deep regret. "If only" moves into my brain to beat its drum. 

Yesterday, a friend helped me rig a pump system that will send bath and shower water into a rain barrel outside the bathroom window. If only I had done this years ago.

I now keep a pitcher in the sink to collect "run-off" from washing hands, fruit, vegetables. If only I had been doing this for 20 years or more. It is so very easy to do. 

If only we had all done easy things for 20 years or so, it could have, would have made such a difference. 

I can't speak for everyone, but I didn't, because I could not believe that rain could sustain such a long absence. I have days now when I even contemplate the end of rain. I have already left off planning for it with regard to travel or outdoor activities, the likelihood of it occurring is so low and has been for so long.  I didn't believe that we could not conserve our way out of a crisis. I didn't believe that a drought could last so long that conservation could not carry us through it. 

Now I live what I once could not believe. I live through it with hope, of course, and with faith, but this summer, as I look at the barren planters on my porch and the beds I dug last fall where the flowers were going to grow, I understand, I feel that I am now living what I once could not believe. I will not plant anything new. I will hand carry saved water to trees and shrubs. I will spend more time than ever before taking less water than ever before to the treasured green space that greets my gaze every day.

Clouds gather behind the wind-tossed, budding trees this afternoon. My hope gathers with them. Not only a hope for rain, but also a hope that I have reached a new level of appreciation of the world "begotten, not made," a hope that I will not be guilty of taking a vital natural resource for granted ever again.


Popular posts from this blog

Life without Television, Part 2

I began life without television with relief, which was consistent Monday through Friday. The first few weekends, though, felt awkward, anxious, lonely. When PBS has good programming on Saturday nights, it is extraordinarily good. Father Brown, Phryne Fisher, New Tricks... Extraordinary acting, high production values, and I fantasize about the pudgy, brilliant priest just perhaps having an innocent crush on one of his special parishioners, which would be moi. 

I called a friend one Sunday. "Maybe television helped with my anxiety more than I realized," I said. She told me about her aunt who, after her husband's death, kept the television on in his "man cave" 24/7. He has been gone years now. The television goes on, everlasting, in his absence. I don't blame her. Much of my frequent and prolonged television viewing began with grief.

After my sister died, I would watch almost anything, especially late at night when sleep eluded me. I even watched Convoy with …

Whose day?

Years ago, I made some collages using pages from a desk calendar from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The image that leads this post is one. Inside the hearts and flowers is a picture from the MMA collection of  a Japanese screen made in the 16th century. It is titled Tagasode, which means Whose sleeves?  The title comes from a 10th-century poem:

The fragrance seems even more alluring than the hue, Whose sleeves have brushed past? Or would it be this plum tree blossoming here at home?
Iro yori mo ka koso awaredo omohoyure tagasode fureshi ado no ume zo mo
The word haunts: tagasode. Whose sleeves? The question floats in my mind like a cloud on a still day. The sleeves materialize in my mind's eye. I hear them move through hushed air. I can imagine, though not name, the scent of the person to whom those sleeves belong. It's not unlike smelling the scent of your infant's clothes, or holding the perfume bottle that belonged to your don't need to open it... you know tha…

Glad to Hear It

This past week, Larry Wilmore and company mentioned Rachel Dolezol again on The Nightly Show. I don't remember who made the comment, but either Wilmore or one of the panelists said, "Did Rachel Dolezol do anything bad? No, she really didn't. Why did we get so uptight about that?" I was glad to hear it. Three cheers for being human.

I looked briefly at what's on Google currently about her and the now much-discussed Shaun White. I intend not to enter any of that fray mentally or verbally. I still maintain that humanity trumps color. We have a long way to go until we can leave our "paint by numbers" mentality behind, but we've made progress. Good changes can come, even in the midst of chaos and controversy. Maybe White and Dolezal will help us see that eventually.

As long as I'm here and continuing on the subject of color, I think I'm not alone in the fact that I don't like being called "white." As for my background, it includes …