Living Traces

April 8th, 2009 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

Pat is gone, but not gone. Our neighbor to the East died a couple of years ago, but her plantings linger. forsythia

While our border forsythia are thinking about blooming, but not quite committed, the crocuses are figuratively and literally in their element. They are also mocking the slumbering day lilies. Those flaming, towering bullies will soon crowd the short and delicately colored crocuses out of their shared bed. Meanwhile, we can see who staked claim first.lily bed

Pat and her brother John lived next door and had long before we arrived. Their mother shared the house at the end of her life and was known for daily washing hung on a pulley line out her window. Among the three of them, Pat was the fit one and surprised us with her sudden death. She was short and chubby but active. She also bowled several nights a week and moved agilely. She went the right way, quickly and apparently painlessly, just dropping dead.

She has not been gone long, but shortly before she went, she planted many dozens, I guess hundreds, of crocuses in her and her brother’s yard and around the forsythia on the border between us. Each bush is awash in spring color before the yellow buds open. If only they made sound instead of color, this would be the brass fanfare.

volunteer crocusesThe area adjacent to the bushes was Pat’s in another way. She planted herself as well, sitting and sunning almost every possible afternoon in a webbed lawn chair in the driveway. She’d read, greet passersby, and commune with Woodbourne’s outside.

My wife and I agreed that we often expect to walk or drive up the street and see her there. In some ways, she is.

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