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May 21, 2010
Who are you?

But answer came there none -- not that I necessarily expected one from a plant, but you never know when a hidden eloquence might be revealed in someone of whom you least expect it, and I've had conversations with lots of plants before. These plants were clearly pregnant with something deep pink, and soon it revealed that they are foxgloves, taller by more than half than their yellow cousins, who volunteer cheerfully everywhere in the garden. I was pleased to see the pink ones, although I had not planted them: I do remember putting in a couple on the other side of the garden walk, and that they didn't do a lot over there. Now they seem to have packed up and moved to a better neighborhood. Well, that's what makes this country great, I say. You can go wherever you want.

I am always happy to see anybody with a cup-shaped bloom -- they are such an obvious advertisement for hummingbirds, whose long bills guide their even-longer tongues deep into the flower, where the nectar waits. Now, a hummer can find nectar in lots of flowers, not just trumpet-shaped ones, but I like to make it easy for them.

The hummers themselves have been shy, thus far. One flew by the kitchen window so fast that I coudn't see who it was -- one of Ethel Merman's descendants, I think, though it could have been her erstwhile friend, W.C. Fields. He fears a face-to-face encounter with Ethel, for reasons he has not explained.

Oh, sorry -- are you new here? Then you may not know that hummingbirds are reincarnations of 1930s and 40s movie stars. They are beautiful, and apt to be self-centered. We put up with the self-centered part because they are so beautiful.

It is good to be back in my own garden -- we had a lovely one in Italy, but I was so busy in the church I had little time to enjoy it. Besides, this is the garden we reclaimed from the English Ivy that used to cover every inch of ground out front. This is the garden we made. We have seen its seasons, no two ever the same. We know its citizens, its visitors, animal and vegetable, welcome and unwelcome. We know its politics -- every garden is chock-full of politics, jockeying for position, the unlikely alliances -- and the wars, fights to the death when politics fails.

Movie stars? Politics? Self-centeredness? These are plants and birds, for crying out loud, not people. But the human drama is not as unique as we think it is. It is part of the whole creation. We mirror the tale of the universe. Perhaps it is ourselves we see, when we go out into the garden.
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