May 13th. Today’s post is triggered by the hot summer conditions experienced in Northland.
The Root System of the Dandelion.
Five purple hebe plants withered and died over the scorching summer. The sturdy Manuka tree in the bottom corner of the section shrunk noticeably, the leaves limp, curled and browned by heat. The Kowhai tree, dejected and miserable, alone on the browned lawn, hadn’t escaped the ravages of the summer either. Only the sprightly, yellow dandelions survived unscathed.
From behind the French doors, Josie gazed at the devastation that was her garden. Rain pelted against the windows. Too late to nurture, too late to resuscitate and revive, the rain had finally come.
‘The summer of destruction, the summer of death,’ Josie mused.
Destruction of once healthy, vibrant plants.
Death of a once loving, trusty relationship, hers and Garth’s. Cracks, like spidery splinters in hardened, baked soil, first appeared after the family gathering on Labour Weekend. Garth ranting against her off-spring, incensed by their wanton wasteful habits, irritated by the shrieks and demands of the youngest generation, her grandchildren.
As summer approached, the cracks widened to chasms. Garth found fault in every aspect of their lives, the ‘friends’ they socialised with, the weekend parties of the hippy-neighbours living in a battered bus and the relentless heat.
‘Extreme heat can have that effect,’ Josie mused.
Add to that, Garth’s constant ravings against his miserly aged father.
‘At fifty-six-years old, your father probably expects you to be financially independent, my sweet.’ Josie offered, her sympathies firmly aligned to the octogenarian.
‘Hah, he needn’t expect me to visit him, even if he is at death’s door.’
Caroline, Garth’s sister, had nursed their father for five years.
Summer had passed, the rains dampened the soil, freshened the air, but failed to quell the dissonance between her and Garth. Their relationship fell through the cracks.
Josie knew she’d have to replace the plants, even with this rain, the plants were beyond saving. They’d have to be wrenched from the soil, disposed with and replaced.
But to wrestle Garth from her life, to dispose of their relationship, (not replace him, necessarily) required more significant consideration. Could the once sturdy relationship be nurtured, Josie pondered, fed sustenance of essential minerals and be revived?
Dandelions, decapitated by the blades of the lawnmower, manage to cling to life and bloom once again, didn’t they? Their tenacious tap-root system penetrates deep into the soil growing lateral roots, allowing the plant to thrive.
Garth and I could penetrate deeply, sprout lateral roots and bloom again. Josie’s inner dialogue caused her to giggle.
‘Unbelievable!’ Garth stomped into the lounge from the bedroom, mobile phone in hand. ‘The old coots died, and he’s left me nothing! It all goes to my saintly sister!’
Josie laughed louder.
‘I’m disinherited, and you find that funny?’
Josie, shaking her head, regained composure. ‘No doubt, you’ll visit your sister and demand your share.’
‘Too right. As soon as I’ve packed, I’m leaving.’
He’s leaving. Every occurrence has a silver lining, even death, Josie thought.
‘Best you don’t return, Garth, after all, you and I aren’t dandelions, are we?’