Monday, March 1, 2010

Pulling Free

Yesterday had me yanking and clipping dead stuff from the top of the fence on the alley side of the backyard.

Twenty seven years ago, when the prince and I bought this house, I planted a honeysuckle vine dead center on the 15 foot wall. It quickly grew to dance along the top, spreading seven feet here, seven feet there, merging with the ivy that grew upward from the wall's base.

Meanwhile, the wisteria planted in the far right corner and intended to soften the flat line of the garage roof  lost its sense of direction and began a stealthy creep under the branches of the honeysuckle. And somewhere along the way a seed from a white flower vine impregnated the soil ( I'm sure i never planted it. Or am I?) It too has grown up to merge with the honeysuckle and the ivy and the wisteria.

Lacing it all together is a climbing red rose of dubious pedigree that snaked its prickly way through the tangle of vines. It gasps and heaves each spring, tossing a flailing cane 20 feet up and out over the alley and flowers fabulously for a couple of weeks if it's cool enough, ten days if it's not. Then it succombs to black spot and waves its octopus arms and laughs at at me from its untouchable height.

It has all drifted evily far from my pretty cottage garden intentions. The honeysuckle is nearly smothered. The wisteria doesn't bloom (it doesn't bloom where it's supposed to be blooming either, but that's another story). Branches of the rose grow unseen and die entombed within the mass of vines and branches that smother the wall, their nasty thorns ready to fight against invaders wielding clippers.

The only victor is my volunteer, the white flower vine that late each August bolts along the fence to the house and up the gutter to the roof in one direction, and down to nestle into the section of wisteria that obeyed orders and crossed the garage roof. This display is so spectacular that each year I make the mistake of leaving it be to top dress everything it encounters in a frothy white veil.

So I didn't want to touch this and I didn't want to touch that and eventually, I'm not sure when, we ended up with a tangled mass of green that's solidly wrapped around  a core of dry brown leaves that's threaded with lethal thorns from dead rose branches and studded, as I discovered yesterday, with ancient bird's nests (why do they always build new?) . This mass is so thick it half covers the flower bed below, which is already on the shady side of the garden so I'm always nursing and praying and eventually just taking off my damn glasses and promising to do something about it -- next year.

Enter next year.

Yesterday in a violent ungloved thrashing I smashed through the dead dreck, so covering myself in twigs and crumpled leaves that I appeared to be costumed as a dead tree. The debris I generated filled the back of the pick up truck so high it had to be tarped and roped for a trip to the dump.

"I can see air!" shouted the prince, who was teetering atop the opposite wall, clipping the orange trumpet vine into reason. How you can see air I do not know and yet I do.

Aha! Methinks another metaphor.  

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