Thursday afternoon: no algebra classes for 3 days. There will be stacks of paperwork to catch up on and a Saturday morning yard sale to prep for, a test on Monday morning which will require a few “practice runs.” The lovely thing is that I’ll be able to pace myself through instead of rushing like I do all week, and also have a glass of wine here and there…mostly here.
All week, I’ve been planning my next posting – yarrow – but first, there is something spectacular to celebrate; my Hollyhocks. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but the name I use for my posting sites is “1hollyhock” and here’s the story behind that:
When I was just a little kid, we moved from northern New Mexico where we always had a garden, to Phoenix, Arizona where we always had rocks. Dad would rake rocks, water rocks, stack rocks. He moved rocks from one place to another in, what seems now to me, an almost Zen-like ritualistic way. I think my parents tried to garden once, but there were always just rocks. Even our tap water tasted like rocks.
One day, when I was about 14, I decided I was going to grow something in the middle of our rocks. It would be my first gardening attempt since those bean sprouts we grew in recycled milk cartons as a class project in 2nd grade. (I totally adored my bean sprout!) Somehow, I had acquired and hoarded a wrinkled envelope of Hollyhock seeds from a box of ‘hand-me-down’ items our church ladies always passed around. So, out I went to the rear of our property, brushed aside some dry chalky dust that was our excuse for soil, plopped my seeds down, covered em back up and poured a glass of water on top. No idea whatsoever what I was doing, but those procedures seemed to make sense and maybe I learned something in 2nd grade after all, even if it was only bean sprouts. Every day I went out in the sweltering heat and watered my little mound of dirt and waited for something to happen. Weeks went by and nothing, more nothing.
Then, one day there was a sprout. One single Hollyhock seed found life under the worst possible conditions. I have never forgotten the feeling I had that day, as if I had performed some Goddess maneuver that had never been done by anyone else in all of natural history. It was awesome. It was a powerful moment in my life. That one Hollyhock was the beginning of a love affair that has only become deeper and more enchanting with passing years. It has also become somewhat of a metaphor in my life.
A few years ago, my dear friend Andrea gave me an envelope of Hollyhock seeds from her garden. Yes, it did look like that other envelope so long ago…I planted them and they came up…all of them pink and fluffy, glorious in their healthy splendor, unlike the one from my youth that withered to black ash the moment temperatures rose past 110 Fahrenheit. These Hollyhocks from Andrea’s seeds have been making me smile for years. The darker Hollyhocks have been on my wish forever: they are considered a black flower (even though there is no such thing and yes, I know I always say that) and I love the really dark colors the most. So, I kept trying with more seeds and I even got some “Black Beauty” seeds from Lucie for my birthday. They all got planted along our side fence so I could see them out my office window. Still, nothing but pink. (not that I am complaining in any way)
Until this week! This week, while I had my busy little nose to the grindstone, my dark red/black Hollyhocks bloomed and I didn’t even know they were there! Along the fence, they show up as the same color as the wood stain. They’re beautiful and I can’t even explain how much of “full circle” feeling I have right now. Even better, I don’t know if they’re Lucie’s seeds or Andrea’s seeds but they are definitely from someone who loves me right?
So today I celebrate the will of a seed to rise above its circumstances and grow to full potential, the magical ways Mother Nature sees fit to reward effort on her behalf, the sheer persistence of life to do what it does, and Hollyhocks.