"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have". - Frederick Koenig

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

April Showers Bring May Flowers, Right?

So a lot has happened over the past few days.  On the itemized list of 'blog-friendly' items: VCU lost to Butler Saturday night, then our television finally called it quits right after the game (with a house full of people no less), and the check engine light on the car is now glaring at us demanding some long needed attention (as in, it hasn't been serviced in several years and now I'm a little nervous about something going terribly wrong just when I don't need it to).  Not that any of these things are really life-changing issues, but it just seems that when it rains, it pours.  Oh, and it has literally been pouring off and on outside, which is not helping the state of the leaky ceiling/wall in the guest room.  Top it all off with this being the busy season for me at work (meaning that it penetrates every portion of my being in an excruciatingly not so good way), and my favorite handbag breaking last night, and you may be able to see why it's kind of been a challenge to see things in an positive, inspiring way over the past few days.  In all honesty, it's been a challenge just to get a good night's sleep.  Then yesterday, I noticed that it had finally started to happen ...

 ... our Lady Banks Rose has started to bloom!!!

When we moved into our house several years ago in late August, we had no idea what the massive vine thing climbing up the column on the the front of our house was, except that it was definitely a high maintenance life form.  There was nothing but plain, green, leafy chaos - no fragrance, no real visual appeal, and an extreme tendency for rapid growth.  Even with an almost weekly grooming this thing started taking over our entire porch with it's tentacle-like vines reaching above the roof of the porch as well as over to our front door; smacking against the window panes as if it were demanding entrance.  When the sun caught it just right, it would cast shadows into the foyer of our house that looked like this swaggering beast just outside the door reaching with it's multiple arms inside to swallow us whole.  Maybe it was because of seeing this one day that it put my in mind of the plant from the 'Little Shop of Horrors', Audrey II -- you know, the one that grows insanely out-of-control and turns into a monster that starts eating people.

 Well, whether it was due to all of the grooming that this thing needed (with no particular payoff that we knew of at that point), or maybe it was the fact that it really did look like a monster plant, I decided to christen her 'The Audrey III'.

Audrey III kept on growing and becoming such a nuisance that after a few months of this, we actually discussed cutting her down.  I mean, she was really a lot of work for what appeared to be nothing, and she was covering a nice column that I'm certain could use some paint.  At the time, with fall coming we decided to put off a final decision until the spring when the regular yard work would occur, and just let it drop for a few months as 'Audrey III' seemed to go into a winter hibernation.

When the following spring arrived, we were again reminded of what a pain 'our little Audrey III' was going to be.  She  had started to exhibit new light green growth, and we weren't sure we were ready for the upkeep and hassle to follow.  Fortunately for us, between the spring rain and having to focus on other life issues, we let Audrey III run her natural course without any stress or attempt to change things on our part, and whoa what an outcome!  This seemingly pointless exercise in what appeared to be futile upkeep turned into one of the most beautiful displays of spring blooms that I have ever seen.  She only blooms once a year, and is a lot of work to keep from being unruly the rest of the time, but wow what a show she puts on for a week or two every spring.

As you can tell, even though she's a mess most of the year, she's our mess, and once a year she really makes all of the fuss totally worth it (though I cannot say the same of our Crepe Myrtle trees - totally not worth it).  We'd never dream of getting rid of her - even if we do still lose patience and trim her pretty short sometimes.  With everything else that has happened the past couple of days, her timing seems especially nice.  Her new blooms have reminded me that even though it may seem like you're in the middle of a pile of poo spring shower that seems unmanageable under the circumstances, and life seems like a pointless exercise in futility; most types of organic fertilizer precipitation are eventually followed by the wonderful blooms that make stepping in it going through it all worthwhile - even if it's just for a short time.

I can't wait to see her in full bloom in the next few days, and look forward to sharing the best part of the whole Audrey III experience with you - the pictures!

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