Thursday, August 24, 2006

morning glories

I am no gardener, but I like things that grow, especially climbing vines and flowers. I particularly like morning glories. When I was a child, I had a friend who lived in a yellow brick house (I must have believed she was from the land of Oz), and on the side of the house grew these spectacular, sky blue on the sunniest day, huge, full-skirted morning glories. They lived up to their name. The contrast of that profusion of brilliant cerulean against the ochre brick stays in my mind. So I became determined to grow some of my own against our ugly, utilitarian chain link fence in the back yard. At first I just wanted something to cover it, so I threw a hardy variety into the ground, not really caring what came up. And I got some small but pretty blooms the first year. The following year I wanted the big bells, so I got some premium seed and planted away. No luck. My downtown girls came up with a vengeance and choked out the new seed. I tried the next year. Once again, nothing, though I diligently searched every day for a spot of that unmistakeable blue among the purples and whites.

So this year I cleared a brand new spot along the fence, got top grade soil, dug a trench and soaked my seedlings in warm water before planting. I made sure any danger of frost was past, and carefully spaced the cracked seedlings in the soil. Once again, I waited. And waited. And waited. The other flowers came up, and then I noticed a vine with distinctly shaped leaves unlike the others. Once again, I waited. The vine was naked for a long time. One morning I was playing with our cats by a backdoor window, and I could see it, screaming blue from clear across the backyard-one single, enormous, lovely bloom, like Cinderella entering the ballroom swathed in this unmistakeable color. I think I yelled and ran outside. Everyday I came outside in the morning to just look at this blossom, and then I noticed there was another one. And in a few days, another one. Then along with the deep blue blooms came these delicate light blue bells with dark blue streaks. I don't remember those being on the neighbor's vine. Now there is this floating cloud of flowers on the top of the fence dotted with dark blue. It is extraordinary.

I've been thinking lately of how deeply childhood memories stay with us and shape our future. Somehow those blooms along the fence provide a visual, present and tangible link to the past for me, as though it exists in the here and now. Sometimes seeds of hope stay buried for a long time. I think of how the scriptures say we were "pre-ordained" for good works, and the treasure of our lives hidden until it is ready to be uncovered, and our lives live on in the future, like the seeds that suddenly burst into unexpected glory-in our own lifetime, and for generations to come. We are not forgotten.


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