Support Systems and Seasons

September 3, 2010

We are in a Georgia O’Keefe painting today – blue and clear and crisp with fat puffs of bright clouds in linear patterns arcing across the sky.

The rain and the wind, cool and cleansing, has made the pampas grass bend across the driveway, sweeping across the car as we park or pull out of the garage. The blades are sharp and seem dangerous while the blooms are feather soft and pocked with tiny seeds. I stand there and close my eyes, hearing the breeze rustle through them, rubbing rough and smooth. These dry, prairie plants in a cool breeze sound almost like their opposite – ocean waves in warm, seaside currents.

The sunflowers remind me a stained glass pattern, a loose grid of upright stalks, perpendicular leaves and element-of-focus flowers. One could understand the need to paint these flowers, change them into a graphic, adapt them to an abstract. I catch a bee in midflight in front of a bloom and am thrilled.

I cut down all the iris that has lays on the front bed, browning and dying. I leave them about 5″ high, enough to keep making that energy for beautiful blooms next year, but short enough not to look like such a mess now.

The mulch where the beans are planted is bumped, evidence of those emerging seedlings. The green pepper is heavy with fruit and I use a little plant tape to tie it to the chickenwire panel, keeping it upright and rooted.

There is a cluster of pin oak leaves caught in the prairie dropseed grass, an absolutely perfect portrait of impending autumn.

The fall clematis is ready to burst, blanketing the arbor and the front of the house with potential. The anticipation of that bloom keeps me on edge, making me impatient for the season to change – which is odd because I am trying so hard to hold onto time this year.

Dominic seems to be rushing towards a confident, capable adulthood, with occasional detours back into insecurity and crises of confidence. Perhaps I notice those more and worry about those more because he is a More kind of person. His heart is on his sleeve, all day, every day, even when he thinks it isn’t. His struggles are certainly not unique; everyone wants to be liked and loved, be successful and content. But he talks about those struggles more, share those feelings more, communicates his angst – and his successes – more. Sometimes, I feel like he is exposed, raw and naked in his emotions, and I worry about him crossing paths with people who don’t understand his Moreness.

In a lot of ways, he’s like our big pin oak, his Moreness anchoring him deep, giving him an understanding that goes way beyond what ordinary people open their minds to. He also reminds me of all those plants that need supports, rings and trellises. He needs good people – desperately – to help and guide and befriend and communicate. We support him mightily here in the nest and he reaches out to aunts and uncles and cousins who understand him and love him and guide him. Thankfully, he now has friends that act as supports and guides too, which is such a blessing.

In truth, everyone needs a support system, a little plant tape, a little chickenwire to help keep us on steady feet. Dominic just needs it a little More and is not afraid to let people know. I know in my mind that he will be fine, but my heart still worries.

Eliza would add that, in many instances, he’s like the pond and needs a filter!

The pink phlox drops its petals, like blush confetti along the ground. My mulch digger has indeed come back, making more holes this time, defying me and my dirt-kicking.

We go to dinner with Mark and Barb and talk about the seasons. Mark says he hates fall; he would prefer to live in a place with spring and summer only. While I understand the desire for warmth, the antipathy for ice and snow and the consternation of winter driving, I have to admit that I am one of that miniscule minority that love the passing seasons. Fall to me means apples, crisp and tart. It means warm donuts sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. It means crackling leaves, brilliant colors, woodsy smells in the air. Bright mums, bright pumpkins, bright fires in the pit.

It is difficult for me, as I love the experiences that every season brings and just hate the passage of time.


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