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August 31, 2009
Naturally, the garden has changed after a year more or less on its own. The ornamental grass has deep roots and, I now perceive, tundra-scale ambitions. If I can just get its side of the garden looking better now -- weeds out of the way, the stalks of dead hosta flowers pulled out, the volunteer tree cut down, and the monarda in some kind of order, so that Grace next door won't have to seat people facing away from us when she entertains on her porch, that'll be progress. We were out there yesterday pruning dead branches off a redbud tree, Q on the saw and I pushing at the trunk to make an opening for him so the blade wouldn't stick. Our situation must have looked desperate indeed: a complete stranger came up the walk and offered to help us, easily pulling the trunk back and out of the way, leaving Q a clear shot at a quick saw.

And then there is the hedge, and the roses, and the wholesale mulching of eveything. So much to do! The same is also true inside the house: to the usual frenzy of getting ready for fall must be added the effects of a year without our presence here. Things are different. It will take us a while to get them back as they were.

Of course, we won't be getting things back to what they were. Not the house and certainly not the garden -- a garden is alive, and it changes every day. Not only are we not the same people who left here a year ago, here isn't even the same. I see it at church, in the towering adolescent boys, middle-schoolers when we left them, their treble voices now en route to their tenor or baritone homes. And the girls their age, suddenly so womanly. The babies are toddlers, the toddlers boisterous pre-schoolers. One of the women has left off coloring her gorgeous white hair, which at last can have its day in the sun. There are new leaders, new readers, a new deacon.

Nothing remains the same, ever. Enjoy it now, because it's on its way out and get used to the idea that you're going to have to let it go, so you don't make yourself so crazy wanting something that no longer exists that you can't see the new good that comes your way.. Something else will take the place of everything, and everything must yield.


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