I lie on clean white sheets in a cool, dark room. The overhead fan cools my heated skin. My wounds are tended, arnica on the bruises and the aching muscles, polysporin on the worst of the scratches. A cold cloth lies across my brow, the hum of the air conditioner is oddly soothing. I am battle-scarred and weary. I’ve won for now, but this is a war I expect will continue well into the fall.
A few hours ago, I awoke to the promise of a good day. I felt rested for the first time in weeks, the sun was out, the sky clear. I knew I was heading into a fight and thought I’d prepared well. Number 90 sunblock, a wide-brimmed hat, good gloves, lots of water. I should have known better. 35 degrees outside. A bad knee, tendonitis in both elbows. What was I thinking?
But the weeds are gone, the flowers deadheaded, the roses no longer attack as I come up the walk.
I’ve been on the road for weeks, home just long enough to unpack and repack a suitcase. Each time I arrive home, it’s been late at night. The gardens at the front of the house have been thriving. And so have the weeds. The roses have been reaching out further and further, snagging everyone who tries to pass. Now that I am home for a few weeks, I was determined to set things right. And so I have. But at a price.
As I staggered indoors, covered in dirt, welts, scratches and dried blood, Sweetie took one look and laughed. “Only mad dogs and Englishmen,” he said. And apparently one foolish Canadian.
I’m too old for this. I love looking at flowers. I love having well-tended gardens. But I am not a gardener. A few years ago, I discovered perennials. “You mean there are plants that come back every year? I don’t have to replant all the time?” The clerk in the garden centre just shook her head and smiled. I thought this meant I could plant them and ignore them. Each year they’d come back, I would admire them. Nothing to do.
As I lie here in the dark, waiting for the ibuprofen to kick in and Sweetie to bring me another lemonade, I have decided it’s time to hire someone. Either that or turn it all to grass. But that would be acknowledging defeat. And so I rest to weed another day.
FYI, Baby Sister has sent a second dispatch from Chicago but refuses to let it be published. Something about vulnerability. Personally I think what better way to be vulnerable. But it’s her story and must be respected. Perhaps she’ll feel better about dispatch #3.