outside-in, inside-out

by bam

let’s see, that would be quirk no. 313 in the big book of odd notions that are mine, all mine. and it would be filed under O for outside-in, aversion. or maybe P for pluck. to pluck or not to pluck, that is the pressing postulation.
what this alphabetical quandary is all about is this: queer, yes (oh, look, a Q), it seems i am wired with unnatural natural reticence (UNR) to bring the outdoors in. not in winter. not in fall. but, yes, oh, yes, in spring.
i am quite stricken (QS), i must admit, when it comes to displacing blooms from where they bloom. quite stricken, too (QS2), when it comes to bringing them in to where i can, well, A.) gaze upon them as i burn the broccoli (an almost every day occurrence, i am loathe to tell), and, thus, B.) bury my nose in them while scrubbing black off the bottom of said broccoli pot.
quick disclaimer (QD): i have no inhibitions whatsoever when it comes to gathering the garden’s wounded. in fact, the little ledge above my kitchen sink is, every spring and summer, a rather crowded flower infirmary.
the injured, the lame, i line them up, in a hodgepodge of tiny vases and shallow bowls. a drink for this, a splint for that. i love nothing more than to put my nursing skills to good use, rehabilitating broken stems.
a little aspirin, a little love, i patch them all together again. if my triage doesn’t take, i am consoled by the fact that the fallen let out their last gasp in my most heart-felt company.
ahh, but the well ones. that is where i fall.
i know it makes me the lone bulb in the bag, but it is the sturdy blooms that unsteady me. the erect that topple me. the ones perfectly content to stick their necks out, to reach high and mighty, undaunted, truly, for the sky.
who am i, i wonder, to wander by, sharp blades in hand, and snip to heartless heart’s content?
as one who cozies rather close to those whose creed is consume not anything that’s ever had a face, my logic, it seems, follows straight to the garden’s edge. and that is where my sharp-edged dilemma has me rather dammed in this here dirt.
is it, or is it not, cruel fate for flower stem to be felled? to die a sooner death, sucking waters, in the shaded kitchen, than to live out one’s final numbered days soaking in the sun’s undiluted rays, blowing willy-nilly in the breeze?
could it be the perfection of the tidy rows that i dare not dislodge? decidedly, it could not. as the rows are neither rows nor tidy. it is all rather hodge-podge and disheveled in my earthy beds.
could it be some bizarre, as-yet-unnamed, botanical neurosis? oh, great.
perhaps, the fear of rattling mother nature?
could it be i think it stingy to gather up the season’s beauty, steal it from the birds and bees, bring it in for me and me and only me?
was there some trespass in my past, a petunia perhaps, that i poached from mrs. crochet down the block? was i rapped on all my knuckles for the venial sin of coveting someone else’s lily-of-the-valley?
hmmm. a psycho-horticultural conundrum to be sure.
coaching myself through self-constructed 3-step therapy, i decided just the other day to give the other side a try. to do some cutting, and some gathering, to bring some stems in through the door.
it all started without much premeditation. the day was bright. the lingering bouquets, plainly dead.
i gathered steam. i mustered courage. i coached myself at every garden turn.
i reached, first, under the sink. i grabbed for felco no. 2s, the snipper that knows no stem too thick to cut off at the neck.
i decided to dip in easy here. i snipped the viburnum, the one that makes me swoon, the one i would bathe in if given half a chance. bringing in a stalk or two of that was not one bit disturbing, and besides i slithered through the crack in the fence and cut the blooms that crossed the line into my next door neighbor’s airspace anyway. i’m sure they didn’t mind me tidying up my messy bush.
now on a roll, i did in a few stems of virginia bluebells. but, pansy me, i did the dirty deed back behind the boxwood where no one but the wrens, or my hungry cat, could see them in the first place.
then, giving in to inner pang to round out this mass of baby blue and oyster-pink, i tiptoed out to where the daffodils, frozen stiff weeks ago, still lay. poor petals imitating old crepe paper, but yellow through and through. good enough for me, since this was, at best, mere starter therapy.
against all odds, i brought in my newly decapitated blooms. i dumped the old green almost-goo from the cracked milk pitcher, the pitcher that most recently had been holding well-past-expired grocery-store tulips, the ones i now feel guilty buying, but that’s another quirk we’ll not explore today.
i plunked, stood back and gazed.
i must say i was rather charmed by the misshapen stems, the drooping heads, the leaves with little nibble marks. there was something wholly unsterile, un-store-bought, about these blooms that bloomed the natural way.
it made me think: could it be, after all these years of not daring to disturb the grand outdoor’s design, that dear mother earth is, in truth, one indulgent mama, and more than willing to part freely with whole armfuls of her many varied stems?
it made me think that all these years i had been seriously bound by cockamamie notions, all of my own making.
it made me wonder what else is buried deep inside my inner gardener that i might soon dispel with just a little coaching.
and of course my felco pruners, which are more than suited for cutting any ties that bind.
(and filed under F should you need to find them in my alphabetically constrained house.)

okey doke, now you know my latest quirk. anyone else think twice before gathering what blooms and hauling it in the house? am i—no, make that, was i—all alone in my disinclination to disturb what creeps up from deep below? raise your hand if you think you too could use a little felco pruning therapy. in any area of your inner garden…