I spent this first glorious weekend of summer – by tradition if not by solstice – gardening in Westport, MA where everything grows exponentially from moment to moment. Faced with the need to clear the deck, literally, for power-washing and eventual sealing, we needed to toss overboard the ancient clematis vine which annually graces the railing with layers of saucer-sized lavender blossoms twining their ways along railing and deck. Visualize old vine growth of papery dried gray vine two inches thick; and thinner green-to-brown flexible vine weaving, twining, twisted and circled around through openings, a veritable maze of growth and bloom indistinguishable from itself. After all this time, after all the love lavished, after all the appreciation for its hardiness and resilience year to year, we had to cut back the old vine in service to the sealing of the deck.
Which reminded me of a poem I wrote earlier about this same vine, though from a different vantage point. May its natural wisdom prevail!
The clematis spreads its insistent way across and
around the deck rail, rooted firm and strong
on ancient stalk, weathered thick and wise
in the ways of nature; surprises by its abundant
abandon, thanks to our naïve attempts
to prune, shape and define its way.
[First published in “The Aurorean,” Spring/Summer 2007, Encircle Publications, Farmington, ME.]