Monday, May 25, 2020

Flower Boxes and Hummingbirds

These are strange times.

Every time I try to think about society and politics and the economy, I'm glad that I don't really need to consider any of these things very much.  Lately, I have been going out to dig in the dirt.

Gardening is a new thing for me.  With lots of help from my parents and my husband, two new planter boxes sit in our back yard.  I'm practical.  One has seedlings for vegetables--I insisted on this.  I watch for tomatoes and beans to sprout so we can cook them for dinner.

The other planter box is very intentional and impractical.  My grandmother moved into an assisted living home last fall, and before she moved out of her home, we went and dug irises and mums and peonies and lilies out of her yard.  Now, they live in the planter box in our backyard.

I didn't have high hopes, but the irises are incredible and everything else seems to be loving the Indiana spring.  This week, I sent pictures of the deep purple irises, and another is two-toned with deep purple and light blue.

After sending pictures to my grandma, we talked about gardening and flowers, but Saturday, we got to talking about hummingbirds.  I know she's glad to see the pictures of the irises I send her, but she misses watching the flowers and birds in her garden and back deck.

This made me remember an essay about hummingbirds.  I really enjoyed the essay--I used this essay back when I taught.  I went back to read the essay, and it is both sweeter and sadder than I remember it:
 Joyas Volardores by Brian Doyle

Brian Doyle died three years ago.  I didn't know that.  I do know that this beautiful little essay touched my heart.  Even today, when my grandmother mentioned hummingbirds, the words of this essay, "So much held in a heart in a lifetime.  So much held in a heart in a day, an hour, a moment" echoes with me.

It's funny and strange how a brief conversation about hummingbirds can trigger a memory about an essay I haven't read in years.

That's the lovely and wonderful and universal memory in great writing.

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