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Me and Constance Spry

May 17, 2010

When I die I hope they plant my seed right here under these Constance Spry roses. Back here with the fence-sitting birds and the picnic workers where nobody steps on your grave because they’ve all forgotten it’s here or just don’t bother to cover you up with a plastic arrangement thanks to the thunderclouds of pink moonbeam petals and green thorny spikes. Sweet honeysuckle tries to grow up over here too, but somebody comes through and chops it off every so often even though the fat pink roseheads and the skinny scarlet trumpets are beautiful together. I suppose folks don’t like wild things taking root that close to the church.

I’ve got a thing for that honeysuckle though. It calls the hummingbirds and the bees and me and we three hover around the thin red blooms dodging and swatting each other like sisters. My Mama showed me how to press down on the bottom and squeeze a tiny drop of magic sweetness on to my tongue, but I think it’s more of a challenge to squeeze it right on the back of a fat black ant. Sometimes, I just gather the reds and pinks off the ground and take them down to the brook that runs through the pasture and watch them float away, mosquito boats and submarines carried by the breeze and slithering current.

There are no cows in the pasture in the spring because of all the trees. Pretty ones, too. Dogwoods, redbud, orchard apples and some withered old pears all strewn together with mangled cedars full of mistletoe, out-of-sorts forsythia, and tremendous grandfatherly oaks – from under the porch the Easter treeline looks like watercolor flowers painted on the sky. When the summer finally comes, Mr. Pit will herd the mamas and babies over here for the shade which is good for the cows, but capital-B-bad for anybody twisting corn off the stalk or pulling tobacco downwind. But right now, a little past Easter, but long after the last frost, it’s perfect – a rainforest jungle and the streets of London, Independence Hall and The Secret Garden – it’s perfect, and it’s all mine from the porch all the way to the water.

I’m not supposed to go past that little trickling brook, but I do it any old time. I’ll walk down there to wade or look for lumpy brown toads and fat bait crickets or to collect the smooth bluish gold stones that magically appear from time to time, while she watches me from the porch. But as soon as she goes inside, I’m running, arms out bird-like, all the way up here where the fence meets the graves of of the eighteen-hundreds, their thin crumbling markers half-swallowed by red clay and crabgrass. I can’t read many of the names and don’t know the ones I can, but I figure those dead probably don’t have any folks around here anyway, letting their remembrance grow up and fall down like that. They don’t mind me at all.  I think they enjoy me checking in on them from time-to-time.

The fence up here isn‘t made of barbed wire, it’s made of thick wood planks that they keep painted snow white with my Constance Sprys planted at every post. I know it’s just for showing off even though they say it’s not real Christian to be too fancy. I think it just makes good sense to put me down right here, under the show-off fence with the show-off roses and the lost soldiers of a forgotten war. I love it here and nobody’s going to remember where I’m at either.

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