Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thoughts of Dogwoods and Life

The sidewalks and streets in my neighborhood are wet and my garden is green again. I looked out the window this morning and smiled. No snow and the sun is out. I instantly felt energetic and wonder if the lack of sun affects me or is it just that I love the sun and sunny days. I immediately feel more energetic even if I'm home and don't go out in the sun, just seeing the sun makes me feel better. My neighbors must feel the same way as I hear my neighbor's children playing in the yard and all this week, I've heard birdsong around dawn. Spring has arrived.

After breakfast, I walked through my garden in my white robe, sipping hot tea and checking on all my babies. I hope that the perennials I planted last summer bloom again. I spotted two robins along the back fence and noticed new growth on the hydrangea plants and the astilbe. The daffodils and lilies are six inches high now and the ivy in the pot is as strong as ever. I still have this month to prune my ancient grapevines and the little dogwood tree my friend D gave me last year has tiny buds on the branches. That made me happiest of all. 

Last year on Earth Day, my friend D was offered two 'twigs', dogwood trees with roots in a plastic bag of dirt. She surprised me with one 'twig' last year as a house warming gift and couldn't have known how happy that made me. D said she didn't know if the 'twig' would survive, but I was hopeful and so pleased.

You see, dogwoods were my mother's favorite tree. They will always remind me of my mother who passed away in 1992. She also loved lilac bushes. I love both. My parents had several flowering dogwood trees on their property in Northern Virginia. Beautiful dogwoods in creamy white and shades of light and darker pink. They're delicate-looking, compact trees that don't grow huge like an oak or a maple, perfect for a smaller yard like mine. Well, I was thrilled.

A Virginia dogwood had ended up in a West Virginian garden. Just like me, a Virginia transplant in a new home, I told D. I too, had been delicate, fragile, and had replanted myself many times after my divorce. My kids, family and many friends feared for me in a new town and state, worried that I'd hate West Virginia and that I'd made an awful mistake in moving. It didn't matter that it hadn't been my choice to leave Europe, end my marriage, and move across the Atlantic, but here I am.

I immediately planted the little dogwood in a large clay pot and decided that we would no longer call it 'twig'. It's a dogwood and I babied that tree all last spring. Midsummer D visited again and we planted the dogwood in my yard. I decided to plant it along the side fence away from the wind that always blows like crazy through the side yard. She reminded me that I would have to move it, but I was dead set in protecting it first. I staked the little dogwood and it has thrived there. The dogwood grew four inches last year and I'm praying that it survives the winter and continues to thrive. But, I might have made a small mistake with my precious little dogwood...

I planted it along the side fence, way too close to the fence, actually. In my attempt to protect and save the sapling, I'd forgotten about trust and allowing things to progress as they are meant to. I'll have to move it to a location where it is able grow as large as it wants. The spot is confining and not conducive to future growth...I forgot to trust.

as I write this blog post, it feels eerie. The comparisons between my new life in West Virginia and this little dogwood are amazing to me. I've always felt in tune with nature, so this shouldn't surprise me.

Two springs ago, I moved to West Virginia to start a new life. I bought and move to a house that I could well afford and to a location that would allow me to write full time. At the time, I saw no other option. Friends and my children encouraged me to look at other houses, but I was so afraid that I just made the decision and did it. West Virginia isn't forever, but it sure has been a soft place to land and I've been able to live my life as I envisioned it. I've felt safe and protected in this place. The experience of moving on my own has been difficult at times because I'm away from my two adult children, but I've healed here. I'd put down tender, shallow roots and they spread. I've grounded myself in this town and I feel I've thrived...

but, I now realize that I've planted myself real close to the fence in an attempt to regroup after divorce. I wonder what would have happened if I'd trusted and been a bit more patient? Well, I'm not one to dwell on the past nor agonize over decisions. I did what I thought was right for me. I finished my novel and have begun to write my second book. I've made friends and feel a part of my crazy and colorful neighborhood. I've also protected my heart in many ways...there it is.

Is it time for me to move away from the fence? What will moving away from the fence mean for me? What will it look like?

It looks like book #3, that's what it looks like :) The outline is already written because I've lived it. That book will be the sequel to the book I'm writing now or the ending...and I didn't realize it until just NOW. Just this second.

Trust.

Peace and love,
Ellie








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