…Gets its Wings” from It’s a Wonderful Life.
First things first. What do you think of my veggie haul below?
More tomatoes are on the vine, and the eggplants are coming in next! However, the subject I want to write about isn’t much related to the garden’s veggies.
I am sensitive to sound. For example, when I was in college, I couldn’t concentrate if music played in the background or if someone was talking at a table next to mine in the student lounge. Fast forward to a few months ago when I took my car for a repair and brought along a book to read. I couldn’t read it because of the TV blaring in the lounge. I realized others were watching the TV, so I found a bench outside where I could read until the car was ready. All of this to say, the sounds I hear in my garden are almost as important to me as the plants.
I love hearing birds call to each other or the patter of light rain in the garden but am not so in love with a contractor’s noisy compressor gearing up at 7 am.
I’m not “fragile” when it comes to sound.–I do enjoy loud raucous music when it fits with the time & place. (I especially like listening to this oldie but goody extra loud. Bet you it would rock the birds from the trees!)
Anyway, I’m partial to the sound of bells and have several in my garden. I don’t ring bells every time I’m outside, but if the urge hits me, I do.
Virginia creeper wants to ring the bell.
The bells above have a rather deep tone.
Ring this bell if you want tea!
In my garden, there is one set of bells plus a stained-glass heart that have special meaning. These bells serve as more than just decoration or garden art although that’s also their purpose. Since these bells are 8 feet in the air and hang on a line between two old-fashioned laundry pulleys, they are difficult to photograph. In fact, I’ve never taken a picture of them until now.
Sometime back when I gardened at my former home, I ran across a wire greeting card holder at a secondhand store. It looks much like a curtain rod with wire loops running across it. (Take a look at the photo above.) I thought it was cool and hung it horizontally from a tree limb in the garden. Soon, I began hanging small brass and copper bells from the rod. The bells were also secondhand, purchased here and there.
At the time I put this together, it seemed important and appropriate that the bells honor the people I loved who had passed on to the next realm.
The stained-glass heart on the rod represents my love for these people.
And so, let me write a little about some, but not all, of the people who are represented by the bells and heart:
*My husband who died of thyroid cancer at the age of 46 was a terrific gardener. He gardened with heart and by feel. He’s the one who got me seriously hooked on gardening. I’ll leave it at that.
*I was six years old when my friend, Sandy, died at age 5. Sandy resembled the little blonde Coppertone girl from the sunscreen ads. Sandy couldn’t swim, but she could sure dog paddle with the best of them! Don’t’ ask me why, but we loved to hunt for baby birds that had fallen from their nest. Sandy, her father, and 8-months pregnant mother were hit in their car by a motorist making an illegal U-Turn. Everyone died with the exception of Sandy’s father, and he was in critical condition the last I heard. I never found out whether he survived.
*Jill was my roommate for a year. Jill was the epitome of cool, while I was the nerdy brain-iac. Jill turned me on to my first marijuana cigarette and beer (Michelob). One evening during study hall when we were bored out of our mind, Jill and I lit firecrackers and threw them from our third-floor dorm window and then immediately sat at our respective desks pretending to study. The study hall proctor checked all student rooms and asked us if we’d seen or heard anything. Nope, we’d been studying the entire time obviously. Ha. Note – Jill and I were the only roommates who got along with each other all year without a cat fight. Jill died at the age of 25.
*Tracy was a girl I met in college. She had an IQ of something like 138 but was confined to a motorized wheelchair because her body didn’t work. As a worker in the college’s Disabled Student Services, it was my job to feed Tracy her lunch via a tube in her stomach. Although Tracy couldn’t speak, she used a computer mounted on her wheelchair to communicate.
Tracy had a terrific sense of humor. We’d go together to the nurses’ office so I could feed her, and I’d stop in the hallway to weigh myself on their standing scale. One day, Tracy moved her wheelchair behind me and with a lot of effort, put her foot down on the scale behind my feet. Why gee, I’d gained 5 lbs in just a day or two. How did that happen? Then I turned to see her grinning and I knew! Tracy worked hard to be independent. She wanted to live on her own and eventually she did, but sadly, her caretaker came in one day, put a piece of pizza in her mouth and went out on the apartment balcony to smoke. Tracy choked on the pizza while he was gone.
*Dr. Young was my supervisor when I was a student worker in the chemistry department. He was both an insightful person and a wonderful instructor. I enjoyed his classes. I worked with Dr. Young for several semesters and felt I knew him well. He had a huge floor-to-ceiling bookcase in his office behind his desk and for an April Fool’s joke, I placed a hollowed-out book there with a mini tape recorder inside that played “The Sounds and Songs of the Humpback Whales.”
This didn’t seem to bother Dr. Young. He coolly commented there were strange noises in his office while I laughed my head off. Dr. Young loved his wife and family very much, but said once that when his wife would tick him off, he’d play Under My Thumb by the Rolling Stones just to piss her off. I thought that was pretty funny. Dr. Young died from lung cancer (much too young) when he was in his early ‘60’s.
Anyway, these folks are never completely out of my life or thoughts even though they’re no longer physically here. Their lives all had meaning.
Lastly, there was a time in my former garden when I suspected someone of trespassing and breaking things intentionally. For instance, I bought some vegetable plants and found them all broken off at the ground shortly after I planted them. A small cement dove statue sat on an upturned metal bucket under an oak. A few days after the vegetable plant incident, I found the bucket turned over with the dove several feet away. Cement doves don’t fly. Still, I doubted my intuition. I told myself, “You’re being paranoid. An animal probably broke off the plants and knocked over the statue causing it to roll.” But later when I saw one of the strings holding a bell had been cut and the bell was now tied to the chain of the heart, I knew no raccoon was to blame, and I began locking my garden gates (a big hassle).
And you? Do you have something in your garden that holds special meaning or have you ever experienced intruders in your private space? I’d love to hear of your experiences.