Friday, May 24, 2013

lilac hedge

We live just off a relatively busy street.  And our house is quite close to where cars zip by.  For convenience, it was likely placed close to the original walking and cart path that would have existed when our home was built, and our front door now opens to a few steps, a narrow band of grass, and then the curb.

On either side of the front door, a relatively wild, untamed, and scraggly lilac hedge separates the narrow (I am talking like three feet deep here) front lawn -- just wide enough to require some kind of mowing but too narrow to take a quick whack at it with a rider mower -- from the rest of the yard.

Given the hedge's deciduous nature, it undergoes a transition across the span of seasons.   In the summer, when the leaves are in, the entire yard behind it is very private. The sounds and sights of our urban-ness are all but eliminated by the leaves and blooms of the hedge. It is only the occasional noisy car or siren that reminds us of where we are. In the fall, slowly, we lose our privacy, just as the weather is beginning to turn cooler and the kids go back to school, and we are spending less and less time in the garden. In the winter, the interconnected lilac branches hold up snow and the high snow banks offer more depth and more sound reduction.

And then.  Mud season.  Oh mud season.  It is not our hedge's most flattering time.

Our chickens root about in the leaves left from...ahem...the previous fall, finding bugs and worms, all in close proximity to cars whizzing past, unaware of the fowl play going on nearby.  

But, now, just a few weeks later.  Our hedge?  It is magnificent.  

The lilacs are in bloom.  

My mother's day lilac, a gift from my parents last year.  It is different...smaller blossoms and leaves.  

The invasive bittersweet that we are trying to contain, where we have missed it or it is stubbornly pushing back like a zombie's hand coming up from the grave, is coming into leaf.  And for now I don't mind the bittersweet or the other weeds that are out there, hiding amongst the lilacs.  Because now, when you turn off the street and into the driveway, it is almost like walking through a doorway.  It is our air lock slamming shut behind you with a hiss as the suction reestablishes.  

Now I can garden wearing whatever I want, and not worry if my shirt is staying over the top of my pants as I lean over.  The dogs won't bark at as many passing pedestrians.  I don't have to feel as self conscious of the omnipresent unstacked woodpile or the abandoned heap of extracted bittersweet from weeks ago.  The kids can play outside in their pajamas and I can take the compost to the bins in my pink polka dotted pajama pants.

I can smell the lilacs every time I open the door, but they have been especially strong these past few days with the rain and moisture in the air.  

Summer is coming.  School is ending.  A clothesline is being installed.  I am going to climb over the woodpile and the heap of winter skis and snowshoes in the barn and find the badminton net.  

Our hedge is back in business.  The blossoms will only last a few days more, but the green lushness of the leaves will give us a bit of separation, a bit of containment, as we shift from sports and school and lessons to the garden and swimming and bare feet.  I am turning my energy, my mind, away from the outside world, from the needing to blend and move fast.  Toward here.  Toward us, moving slowly and quietly.  Having time to reconnect and just be.  To spill out of the house and into the backyard.  And for that to be enough.  

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