With regards to the people in the story who are a little touched, I thought that it maybe was a little overdone. I mean, not EVERYBODY in the story can be crazy or it doesn't work. Not all of them were actually crazy, but pleasantly eccentric counts, and most of them were at least that. I guess at the heart of it was Roger, who was the most doted on by the older women of the story. He was the one true stable person in the story, with the women worried about him and fussing over him and taking turns having him to dinner or tea. And, of all of those women, Eula seems to be the grounding point – Roger's ex-aunt. (It's a long story, but her neice's decision to leave Roger did not diminish her affection for him.) It was also her sister, Louise, who was at the opposite pole – convinced that if she arranged letters just right the aliens would finally come down.
Amidst all of it, though, are plants. Flowers in gardens, farms of peanuts, onions. These people knew their plants. Roger, especially, but the women were no strangers to seeds and dirt. The outsider, an aviary artist named Della, even demonstrates a bit of knowledge, though her experience doesn't seem to have been first-hand when it comes to propagation or gardening. There are roses of every shade, a remnant of a garden on the property of a house long-since burned down. Proper flower gardens with garden parties and haphazard gardens planted without regard for aesthetics or societal norms.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently moved into an old house that sits on two acres. There is plenty of space for flowers if one were interested. There is also years of growth that would need to be cleared – part of it anyway. It's not that the entire property is overrun any more, but there's just a lot to do. My point is, I spent yesterday morning and part of the afternoon working in the yard and I'm not used to this. I was hot, I was exhausted and I was irritable. I didn't get to anything that I actually wanted to do. I "trimmed" a bush, which is to say that I cut off three quarters of a bush that was taller than the house. Now there are leafless limbs sticking up out of the ground that will once again be a bush soon. I all but cut down another tree – the trimmers I was using can only do so much. We'll have to go back with a saw or else it will come back again just like the bush, and we don't want a tree right there. It just blocks the window and it was a volunteer to begin with. I have dreams of planting flowers, but it will take weeks if not months to get to the point where that is even an option.
There was clean-up. We had to put all of the limbs etc. into the truck bed to haul to the back of the property. There was one large pile and a couple of other small piles. When it came time to load the first of the small piles I thought it would be best to get the key to the truck and drive to each pile, rather than schlepping branches across the yard to the truck. After a while, though, I went to the one furthest away and dragged a limb and a handful of twigs/leaves with me to the truck. It was like taking a break. Just walking slowly back and forth, not really exerting myself. Especially the limbs that I could drag. Armfuls of small limbs/twigs/leaves would be more work, but dragging a limb or branch was like resting after all morning of working in the heat.
Then there's the maintenance. I told Nameless to figure out what he wanted me to keep up with, then show me how to do it. I can mow, but he's inordinately fond of mowing a lawn. (He told me on the phone once while he was working that he was going to "take a break" and mow. It was over 100° outside.) I've never been exposed, really, to yard work, so it will take some time for me to get used to it. I figured if I had one task that I could own – a chore, we would have called it when I was a kid – then I could begin to learn and get used to working outside.
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