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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Trembling Enchantment of Green

"He who loves a garden still his Eden keep" A. Bronson Alcott

Don't get me wrong. I never wear green. Nothing in my house is green--no walls or furnishings. Green of nature enthralls me every year as though I had never seen it before. As I grow older (almost 63 now), it seems I appreciate it more....not sure why. The life I see in green is something Thoreau would appreciate. Nothing else seems to hold the peace and promise of green trees, foliage of yard plants, and the grass. Maybe it's just me. My St. Augustine grass has a depth to its green that is lacking in other grasses that I have observed. By no means have I experienced all the greens and grasses of the earth.

As I drove the back way from Huntsville, south to my home, avoiding the interstate, about 6:30 pm last Saturday, I was struck by the majesty of the land around me. There were few houses, a little mountain foothills  range, and absolute quiet. People must be at home eating, tending the last bit of their garden, or getting ready to go out on Saturday night, I thought. This road normally has many cars. Not so when I drove the 30+ miles home this evening.

Since I had the radio off, the drive seemed especially serene. From now on the radio will be off so the noise won't interfere with the green experience. I could not see green for the cacophony of my favorite music (60s and easy listening).

I passed the old barn right beside the road with the little stand for selling produce. No one has sold produce there for the last 25 years. The old man died. His widow insisted on raising and selling gourds. Maybe that is produce. Her son raised gourds just for her and filled a 6' x 6' x 4' high lattice bin, made just for her and her gourds. The bin has a nice roof and overhang for shoppers and gourds to stay dry and shaded.

One summer day, I saw her, bent and walking slowly. She wore a faded, printed cotton house dress, topped by a faded apron. She had a bonnet on her head and old knee socks scrunched around her legs. For years there was never anyone at the stand. The one sighting of her and a later conversation with a very young, respectful relative were the only means of communication except for the locked money box in which to deposit money to pay for gourds. Laughing gently, the relative said the old woman had the only key and checked it regularly.

Now, there are only very old gourds in the bin. It does not look like they raise gourds any longer. The young relative had pointed them out to me, up on the hill near the woods. Did she die? I wonder. Everything was too quiet and green to stop and inquire.

Even the dogs seemed to honor the peace of the green afternoon, soon to be dusk. All their masters must have mowed the lawns because every lawn was freshly cut. The scene was not marred by a jarring note. Mowers were gone. No cars were in sight in the yards and few were on the road. Nature, even subdued by a lawnmower, seemed to be in charge. For one moment, I wondered if it were this quiet a hundred years ago. Home awaits me.

Late Spring has given us over a week of rain which seems to have added another dimension to the green world. As I stood in the backyard today, hanging clothes on the line, I was struck by the fact that I could see only green as I gazed round me. Only the clothes, the chicks and part of the back of my house broke the green spell. The sky was blue with clouds. The 6 foot back fence was obscured by scuppernong vines and wisteria. Even the trunks of the trees were gone, hidden by privets that reached up toward the branches of the hickory nut trees and bowed to the ground, touching the grass. The low-growing limbs of the tree hid my car and the house next door.

The diffuse, trembling green of Nature seemed at her best. Green must be female, tantalizing us each day to play with her, to interact. Green has many agendas and roles--nurturing, playing, birthing, tending, feeding, burying, cleaning, listening, hiding. Green is there to discover as I increasingly have the last few days.

It all seemed too perfect, punctuated by two bright petunia plants, rescued from brown doom at Lowe's. I nurtured them back to their green and pink state. The old-fashioned roses on the back fence have faded, and I won't cut the vines until I see hips. Maybe I will have hips.

For a moment, I felt as if I were in a secret garden, seeing nothing and hearing only the birds and chicks. Sometimes, it is hard to tell them apart just by listening.

I had no horizon, only walls of green on four sides and a blue ceiling. The house is there, but from where I stood, I could not really see it. The blaze of the sun, though blinding, kept me focused on the green. Weeds grown up over my rock garden hid even the heat of the rocks so nothing emanated. It was all green, just green.

This feeling comes over me every year. Today pulled all the green I feel from the depths of me. I never told anyone before.

"He who loves a garden still his Eden keeps."  (sign in my yard)
A. Bronson Alcott

(Written on June 22, 2009, ten days after I had no TV)

(Note: June 22, 2011: I still have no TV. I can tell the chicks (now hens) from the birds chirping in the trees. Neighbors cut lots of green privets and put up a fence which the wisteria is starting to cover again. I will be 65 in two months. Today is the same green month and day as when I wrote this. )

Your turn
Does the green of nature touch you deeply? Does green, lush foilage renew you as it does me?


  1. Thats beautiful. I could completely relate to the ambience you set because yes, the green of nature touches me very deeply. But, did you ever find out if the old lady died? I need to know:)

  2. That was my "how to save costs on mental health care" post. There are no more gourds. So, she either died or is not aware of whether her son plants them or not. I would have to drive about ten miles out in the country to find out. Maybe I can call someone out there who knows their name. I really want some gourds. The power steering is going out. Boot needs replacing--$400. So, I am a little constrained as to how far I dare drive right now. Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed it.

  3. I liked this post a lot. Lovely descriptive details.

    I've been thinking of ditching the TV, but haven't made it there yet. I think I keep waiting for the darn thing to die so that the decision to rid the house of it is not mine, but the TVs! Someday it will be gone and I will be relieved. I am not sure Matt is as keen to say good-bye to it as I am, which is funny because I think I watch more TV than him. Maybe that is why I want to get rid of it more I suppose.

  4. Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed the post. I WANT tv! I just cannot afford it. I miss TV. Matt is like the person who keeps a bottle around for an occassional drink, and you are the person who cannot leave it alone! LOL

  5. That is a simply perfect analogy of our TV habits.

  6. ooh, thank you for sharing your peaceful ride and secret garden moments, Practical! as for TV, we only turn it on at night for a couple of hours. I wouldn't miss it, but I would miss Netflix online!!

  7. Hi Linda,
    thanks for sharing that lovely story of the gourd lady and her thoughtful son.

    I could feel your enjoyment throughout your post for the green. It's not specifically the green for me, just snuggling into a sunny spot in the garden, being surrounded on all sides, and sitting quietly is my equivalent :D)

  8. BLD, I was hoping you would not be offended! I love making analogies.

    DMarie, I really, really miss tv--news, weather, Medium, L&O, and just the ability to watch it. It was snatched from me by HD, so I never really had a choice to say whether I wanted to give feel deprived.

    Susan, you would not feel so snuggly if you had a sunny spot amongst boulders. Green is what refreshes the air. I would never have expressed me feelings about the greenness before that day. Usually, my meditations are when I am in my swing. This day, I just happened to be hanging clothes and surrounded by the walls of green and became overwhelmed with a sort of gratitude. I will find out about the gourd lady as soon as I can. Yes, I thought that was nice of the son to plant gourds because she wanted them.

  9. This was beautiful! I love green, and there is something magical about a quiet green forest.

  10. I don't love green clothes or furnishings, but outdoors, green is magical!


Okay, hoping the annoyances have gone away.