Thinking about comfort zones reminded me of a journal entry from several years ago, about the flowers I’d planted out front that summer. In the midst of some hard times, that little garden and the enormous oak tree standing over it were havens of solace and peace.
A few years later, I rewrote it, titled it “Watering the Plants” and included it my book, The Year of the Bird, along with a lot of other stories from our family’s life. Looking back, though, “The Comfort Zone” might have been a better title for it. What do you think? I’d love to know. Here it is.
(“Watering the Plants” – or “The Comfort Zone” –
whichever title you think works better)
That’s another one of those words that just plain says what it means. Rooting a plant in the dirt. We don’t piano the piano or food our food. But we plant. And we water.
I’m watering the plants in our garden, spraying water from the green hose into the humid June afternoon. As the arcing droplets dapple their leaves, I’m sure my plants are breathing “aaaahhh” in grateful relief. The zinnias and impatiens are flowering. The hydrangeas—my sweethearts—are fat and delicate, lavender and indigo. My tender tomato plants are inching taller, exhaling tomato fragrance. The black-eyed susans promise to bloom soon.
And the round-leafed geranium that I planted this month in memory of my mother-in-law, Jean, who always had pots of red geraniums on her front stoop, has sprouted its first fire-engine red geranium flower.
Over us all
our immense oak’s muscular branches weave in wide circumference, like the arms of a Hindu goddess. Climbing ivy clinging to its barky sides, it stands notwithstanding heat, cold, time, gravity, the leaping of hysterical squirrels, the incessant yearnings of the house creatures down below.
Older than everything around it, this tower of a tree draws our eyes to the sky and shelters the ground with green shade.