Planting stuff…

I have been divorced for two years. While my marriage was not inherently bad or awful it was lacking in something that I didn’t put my finger on until I met Drew. Honestly. Sounds cliche… but its true. I believe in this ‘thing’ this ‘enigma’ now that I did not believe in before. I have been on my own since then — but in my solitude, when it comes to living space, I have tried to feel like I belonged somewhere and like something was “mine” since I had spent so much time in houses with a husband where I did not feel like I “Belonged”. I spent a lot of time dreaming up a million ideas to make a space “mine” and to make it feel like the “Home” I did not believe that I had ever really had and that I had been lacking since birth. Lots of talk. No doing. No action. I was stuck.

Today, I decided to take another stab at gardening. Yes, real gardening. Kind of. Vase gardens count. Completely.

I love hydrangeas. They are by far my favorite outdoor plant that grows hearty in the  Midwest even in the dead heat of Summer. I also love peonies but those are slightly more temperamental. Last Summer, I was emotionally exhausted and going through some pretty extensive nonsense in my personal life. I woke up one morning after days of confining myself to my bed, for no real reason other than “I am VERY unhappy! I am going to make myself SUFFER even more!” Smart, right? Anyway, I woke up and decided to today is the day that I give life to something other than pain. Today, I will create something pretty and not focus on the pain. I went to Home Depot got a handheld shovel and a handheld tiller and two baby hydrangeas and came home and threw myself at the dirt in the front yard adjacent to a row of evergreen hedge and began hacking away at the ground. I planted two hydrangeas, one “took” and the other one just didn’t… it was a constant struggle to try to keep going. It stayed green but dropped all of its petals and decided it was done making beautiful stuff. The other thrived even in the awful heat of St. Louis summer 2013. I became so busy and so involved in trying to force a relationship with a man who treated me well, who I later found to be your garden variety cheater (not the scary manipulative cheater like his predecessor), but with whom I had no intellectual connection…. in that busy-ness I started packing up for Africa and getting myself ready for a life-changing excursion and the journey to convince myself that this was “my year”. (I look back on that Alyssa and I want to tell her to sit down, shut up, and just WAIT FOR IT because the next year would be that year, not 2013.)

In all of this bustle, I had forgotten to tell the neighbor boy that I wanted to take him up on his offer of caring for my yard and plants while I was going to be gone in August. I left for Africa where it was 72-80 degrees… and it was 100-105 degrees in St. Louis that very same stretch. I took a picture of the hydrangea bud of pink and blue before I left — I returned home to a dry, rotten, dead twig… How could I forget about it!? I felt so angry with myself, though I was mostly relating it to some deep personal analogy as opposed to just quite simply…. having a life, having two kids, being busy! Shit happens! I sat down in the dirt in a bright pink maxi dress, not caring that it would get dirty, and told myself that I was far too overwhelmed and busy with this nonsense we call “life” to have nice things since I had let something I put my time into die. I decided then not to plant anything else anymore…

Fast forward to this morning… Much like the previous morning I referenced where I woke up and decided to make something beautiful… I woke up and put on all of my running garb and was full well ready to go to Fleet Feet and get my compression gear and get fitted for some new items when on my ride between Drew’s house and my own… I saw this little house with a purple front door and a million tiny brightly colored pots sitting on the porch waiting to be relocated elsewhere, as they were strewn about in no specific order, and I thought to myself… “How lovely it is that they have devoted their time on the weekend to making the place that they call home beautiful… and appealing.” We often go inside of our homes and get so caught up in life that we forget about the outside of that shell and what it means. We start tossing about “I’ll do it later.” or “I’ll get around to it at some point.”

I had always wanted to try my hand at vase gardening, or container gardens, and today was going to be that day. I milled around at the nursery for a long time… settled on two HUGE mature pink hydrangeas and two ugly brownish red pots. I bought two cans or spray primer and two cans of lime green spray paint and a big bag o’ dirt and headed home with my spoils. “Why wait?” I thought to mysef. “What am I waiting for?… Why?… if you’re going to do something, do it now.”


I got up and I did it today. Right now, we have another year in this house, then its on to the house that intend to buy when we sell one… but in the meantime, I want to feel like every morning that I had the means to get up and make something beautiful, instead of squandering my time away, I chose to do it.

On a side note, I will miss this little blue house that kind of won my heart…


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