21 September 2007


by Cecily
For a while, in Minnesota, I lived with a bunch of landscapers. It had its ups and downs, like everything. The downs for this situation all involved mud and lines for the shower. The ups were the winners by far: people who knew about digging, and got free plants, and were sent home from work if it was too rainy so we could all go to the bar down the street together.

So, I was in charge of the houseplants, but my role in the yard was restricted to admiring things and eating the results.

Then all the landscapers moved away, and I was left to my own devices. Which in this case meant that for a year and a half no one touched anything in the garden, and then I suddenly decided it was time to Deal With The Yard, so I dug it all up. But didn't plant anything else; the main result of that was that I had a lot of cuts from thorny things and Trisha was irritated with me for leaving piles of debris scattered about the yard.

But one thing I did follow through with, and it was the planting and training of vines. I built an arch out of branches that were knocked down during thunderstorms, and planted morning glories and sweet peas all around them, and wove it into a beautiful green flowery gateway to our nice back yard.

When I moved away from St. Paul, I was forced to leave all my house plants AND all my vines behind, much to my dismay. But, finally, this summer I planted some more vines around the tiny "front yard" area of my house in DC and now all those vines are creeping greenly up things. So I have to spend a good 30 minutes per day now leaning against the fence, murmuring encouraging thoughts to the vines and making sure the little twisty ends are pointed in an acceptable direction.

Vines are smart! In a kind of a scary way. They don't totally seem like plants, or at least they seem very slightly more animate than they really should. I don't understand what kind of math is programmed into their DNA to make them twirl around until they find something, and then stick their little viney feet to it and crawl forwards, but it makes me nervous. So to stay on their good side I whisper sweet nothings and water them with plant food.

I imagine that as a result of this, when they make it all the way up my building and into my window, they will just sort of pat me gently on the head as they pass through, rather than trying to stick their fingers in my nose or knock over my paintbrushes or something.

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