Saving the trees
Monday, May 10, 2010
My Spark friend Watermellen wrote beautifully today about snow, chestnut blossoms, and Yeats - and it triggered a memory of spring in North America, the lovely flowers, the uncertain weather - which led to my response - which is today's blog.
Viva sweet spring (e.e. cummings)
I think it's spring that I miss the most, and my lilac bushes which I rescued from the bulldozers and city hall. There was a lovely wooded area across the street from my parents' house, which was being torn down for a new, larger road. (We walked through this area to go to and from school, and I loved watching the changing of the plants, as if they were the guards of the seasons.) I was 16, and began my first foray into politics and my first act of civil disobedience - numerous phone calls to the college campus, maintenance, city hall, parks department, you name it, I called them - after several days of calling and no answers, my father and I waited until dark and walked across and dug up several lilac bushes, which we then planted in our backyard, right outside my bedroom window. The lilacs bloomed the following year, as if to say thank you. I'll never forget that expedition with my dad, knowing we were doing the right thing, however illegal it might or might not be. We went back the next night and took out a bunch of rhododendron, which we planted in the front yard, facing their former home. The following year, there was another area on campus being "renovated" - turned into a parking lot - I stole another lilac, by myself. Renegade gardeners, we were!
I should add, as a footnote, that no one ever re-planted the area. However, nearly 40 years later, the plants that volunteered to grow are tall and strong, with 40-50 ft pines, a variety of deciduous trees, small flowering bushes filling in the gaps. But no lilacs, no rhododendron - only the ones still growing in my father's yard. He gives me a report each year, letting me know how my lilacs are doing. We both remember our surreptitious forays in the night, stealing plants and giving them a new home.