Hopeful Hollow

Broomsedge, Butterfly Weed and Beechnuts sow hope in the hollow. From Thoreau’s Faith in a Seed to Marc Hamer’s From Seed to Dust, the regenerative powers of nature have provided fodder for our musings on the meaning of life. Walking through the grasses in the east meadow and winding back to make my evening pilgrimage to the old Beech by the road, seeds pop out against the bareness of the leafless hills and remind me that it’s all ephemeral and never-ending at the same time.

At the end of the meadow path is the Pandemic Dogwood, planted the fall of 2020. I spent that winter visiting its buds and wondering if I would see them flower in the spring. Two springs now and counting. It suffered severe bark damage from deer rubbing before I had the sense to put up chicken wire and is sustaining itself by a precarious thin line of cells that I find most inspiring.

Just before the last rain we planted a few flats of the bulbs I dug last summer from the meadow path and beneath the now removed ancient privet. The path crept closer to the creek over the years and eventually ate its lower border which the bulbs had marked – Van Engelen’s Narcissus Grand Mixture, a succession of showy naturalizing types. Another mix of their miniatures was wasted beneath the privet – too far away – and will show off much better in the bed below the kitchen table window up against the turquoise Vietnamese pots.

A surprise spring flower embryo encased in each papery knob, it felt good to plant them in the moist soil. We unearthed a toad who was miraculously not harmed by the spade!

The hollow has entered the dull brown period of autumn with candy red spicebush berries long gone and only shriveled Beautyberries left to emit a dull amethyst. The mockingbird pecks at them desultorily. From now through winter our color will come from blue skies, redbirds and pottery.




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