Tuesday, January 11, 2011


This weeks "Weekword" is "Recycle". Below is a story about my friend, Lynda, that I posted on Silk Creek Portal back in March of '08. When I hear the word "recycle", I think of Lynda, and this is why:

Since one of the themes of this blog this month is Women in Nature, I thought I'd write about my friend, Lynda and her garden. Lynda has been fighting breast cancer for about ten years now. When she first started on this journey, doctors told her that the odds of surviving this long weren't good. She is currently undergoing the last and harshest chemo treatment for her cancer. She was told that she would be on this one for the rest of her life. It's left her very tired and weak, with a low blood count and low kidney function. So, when she told me about her plans for this garden, I was surprised, but happy to hear it. It could be so easy for her to dismiss the idea as being too ambitious right now.

I drove to Beaumont this weekend to help her get it started. The place she plans to grow her vegetables is at her in-laws house. In the back there are 8 or 9 raised beds that have been overgrown with about three years worth of weeds and grass. While we were busy pulling weeds and turning the soil, I asked her, "what does this garden mean to you?" She said, "recycling." I asked her what she meant, and she started to tell me about her father-in-law, Spud. These were once his gardens. He built them about 20 years ago when he retired. He was very passionate about them, especially his strawberries. He worked in his garden when he was well into his eighties. Once, not long before he died, his doctor asked him if he ever suffered from shortness of breath on exertion. Spud said, "define exertion." The doctor said, "when you're going about your normal daily activities." This eighty something year old man told his doctor that sometimes after several trips of carrying 80 pound bags of sand to his garden, he would have to stop and rest for a minute. We should all have that problem when we're eighty. Anyway, Lynda said it made her sad to see these gardens that were once the pride of such an energetic man who was so full of life become so overgrown like this since his passing.

Spud passed away about 2 years ago, so being the nosy friend that I am, I wondered why is it now that Lynda wants to start these gardens back up again. I pried further, "so you're doing this as a memorial to Spud, or does it go deeper than that?" She thought about it, and then said, "this is what kept Spud alive after he retired." I said, "so if you have no work, you die?" She said, "yes." But, it was more than that, because she added, "I can't give up now, I have gardens to tend to."

She also has work to be done at the animal shelter, puppies to rescue, foster, and find homes for. She won volunteer of the year for her work with animals. I think that all of this is more than just work for her. She used the word "recycling". In this context, it makes me think of the cycle of life. This garden is an integral part of that cycle. In spite of the gloomy forecast that the doctors give, she continues to fill her life with life, and give back to life.

Lynda passed away in October of '09, and then my mom the following January. Many of my creative endeavors came to a hault, including gardening and blogging. Slowly though, I'm coming back around. Last October, I wrote this poem for her.

Lynda's Poem

You embellished my life
with the last five years of yours
Adorned it with stories
from your animal rescue adventures
while I cried on your shoulder
after losing mine
Bejeweled it with bead work
made from our treasure hunt bounty
while helping me blow dust off mine
Illuminated it with photographic treks
no one else had the patience to join
Enriched it with gardens
that renewed environmental wonder
and recycled life

Hours spent in unspoken mirth
or in epic laughter
We shared the same muse
Your diagnosis was terminal
yet you filled life
with life and gave it back
Until the last harvest moon

It’s been a year since then
My camera and beads have
once again gathered dust
But, an overgrown flower bed
outside my door whispered
It’s creator died years ago
A thorny rose stem among weeds
Tiny begonias hidden in the grass
told the story of her love
I thought of you and recycled it

In memory of you
I took a new photo
A huge white bloom
that only opens at night
While inside my house
a bird screeched
A rescue you’d fall in love with
Thank you


Biomouse said...

Oh my gosh, I have completely missed out on your soulful and heartbreakingly real stories here at your blog-I'm so glad you stopped by my place. Your take on weekword was so personal and very much spoke to my heart as my husband's father just passed last month and I have a friend currently going through her third round of chemo for breast cancer. I intend to go out to my garden tomorrow and tend to the living beauty around me with them in mind and your words and pictures in my heart. Thank you for sharing.

bluerose said...

Wow, Biomouse, thanks for stopping by! I hope your friend is doing ok. After my husband died, my aunt gave me a book called Tending the Garden - Mending the Spirit. It was full of quotes from gardeners about the spiritual connection of gardening. It might be something you'd enjoy.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

WOW! What a gorgeous image!

Lynda was one wonderful person. I have to come back and read more carefully, as now I must go prepare dinner for family.

bluerose said...

Thanks Mary! Well, it's taken me over a year, but I think I've finally figured out how I should conclude the "Lynda's Garden" series that I started on Silk Creek Portal. I'll just post this poem over there. [don't know why I didn't think of that before]

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

Sounds like a great idea! Good good good!

I;VE BEEN CRAZY BUSY--I sure didn't' mean to dump anything on you!!!!!!!

I still want to come spend some time here.

I took ML to the hospital today, spent the day there, need to tell you more about it sometime.

My brother had a tent put in his heart--scary stuff.

we do what we can!

I hope to talk to you soon. :-D XOX

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I read this poem and post again, feeling very sad and inspired at the same time.

bluerose said...

Wow Mary, you sure have had a lot on your plate lately! Hope everything's ok. You can "dump" on me anytime ;]

Christine E-E said...

I missed your "recycling" post! I was out of town & got busy with work & didn't visit those WEEKWORD participants ~ what a lovely post & tribute to your friend Linda! I'm still digesting the words...

bluerose said...

Hi Christine. Not a problem. I'm sure I've missed a lot of posts by weekword participants. In fact, I think I was pretty busy that weekend, too, and didn't get to visit many other posts. Thanks for stopping by!