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Ora et Labora

April 2, 2007

Maples_2Chers Amis,

The Japanese maple in our front garden unfurled her crimson flags yesterday afternoon
just in time for the Palm Sunday procession and a solemn drenching. Today has been overcast and heavy with the promise of rain, a perfect start to Holy Week.  We spent our morning indoors, the girls and Pippin reading and working independently and I in full spring cleaning mode. I am sure that this is theraputic ,but I wonder, does your house look worse once you start cleaning?  Mine does.  I know it will be spit and polish bright by Wednesday, but this afternoon it looked like Tornado alley and I felt a bit glum. Why? Maybe because as I worked I was reflecting on all the ways I don’t measure up, maybe because of the state of my house (despite my best intentions and sponge work), or maybe because it was the anniversary of the 100_1177death of our dear Holy Father and the start of our walk to Cavalry. I’m not sure why. I just did.

My solution, ora et labora  – go outside and work in my fern garden, raking away the winter cloak of leaves and replacing the stone border so happily destroyed last summer.  Pippin, seeing me "playing" with the rocks, proceeded to undo my masonry, thrilled to find a large yellow and orange centipede and an enormous snail.  (Note to self: next year try mixing a batch of quikrete cement before you are spotted – and work fast, maybe undercover of darkness.)

I love working in this little corner of my garden.  Like ‘real life’, most of our property is so wild and unkept that I am overwhelmed by my to do list before I ever set finger to a rake.  But this small space at the end of a line of white azaleas is burgeoning, full of hosta, pink astilbe, Solomon’s seal, and everywhere, ferns and Lily of the Valley. My small Secret Garden.  I know that I can’t control the wide sweep of growth around le moulin, but I can tend and nurture the pale green shoots that struggle to puncture autumn’s brown leather in this corner.  I can encourage the fuzzy grey fiddles that100_1180 encircle the naughty chipmunk’s hole.  I can rejoice when each purple spike of hosta opens to reveal its true nature under Mary’s statuary gaze  or when I unexpectedly meet a new neighbor under a bag of mulch, a marvel in his jet black sheen.  You know, it does a soul good to poke about in the earth and see the beauties emerge.  By the time I relaid the last rock (for the third time) and rescued Mr. Toad from a pair of hot hands and visited the girl’s new patch of violets and chased a roaming dog back into the house, the clouds opened. A drizzly rain blessed us all and wiped us clean again  – in time for dinner.  God is good.

— Marjorie


PS –  We saw our first firefly tonight!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2007 4:05 am

    very nice pictures!

  2. April 4, 2007 10:04 pm

    Beautiful spring pictures. Your property sounds like an incredible place.

  3. April 5, 2007 10:14 pm

    You have inspired me to get out and take pictures in my yard as well. I should have some in the next few days. It IS amazing how the Japanese Maple does seem to just suddenly unfurl!

  4. April 9, 2007 2:42 pm

    What a beautiful post! I am looking forward to getting back out to the yard soon.

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