Do you ever wake up feeling utterly useless?
No, of course you don’t. Because you didn’t stupidly fall recently and pulverize your arm and do who-knows-what kind of violence to your back.
Ugh. A lost summer.
The arm is coming along, kind of. The back, not so much. So here I sit, fuming, impatient, pretty much useless.
The CE is not useless. Look what he did this week! He made a sweet little garden path:
The back side of his garden path is set right next to our loquat tree. Which, as it occurs to me now that I’m on the subject, began as the definition of useless.
It was merely a stick with a few leaves, a shabby four-foot volunteer on the parched west side of our property. This was what, fifteen, twenty years ago – probably courtesy of a passing crow who dropped its fruit and somehow, inexplicably, it managed to take hold in a patch of dirt. Exactly the patch of dirt we were about to dig up that day.
The CE had his saw out, ready to cut it down, but at the last moment, grabbed his shovel instead. The sad little stick of a tree had somehow made its way this far; it didn’t seem fair to take it down. So he lugged it over to some other misbegotten, unused part of our property. Called it a “survivor”, dared it to survive yet again.
And somehow it did. In fact, it flourished. Grew a couple feet or more every year. And that ignored swath of our property eventually became the domain of our hens, generations of which have sheltered beneath its branches. A hawk sounds, they run under the loquat tree. A squirrel scolds, they scurry beneath the loquat tree. A puppy bounds toward them – head for the loquat!
It fruits reliably every spring and the hens gobble it up:
Admittedly, it’s still not much to look at.
But it has managed to have a presence, and a purpose. And, while I don’t usually think about it other than as a place to search out the hens, the lowly loquat popped up in my reading this week. Penelope Lively mentions it not once, but twice, in her charming horticultural memoir In the Garden. According to Lively, the loquat has a presence in the gardens of North London! She explains that the tree is actually native to Cyprus and was brought to London by Greek Cypriot immigrants. Our tree is not shabby – it’s an international jet-setter!
So today I am feeling quite proud of that useless little stick of a survivor. And thinking that maybe, if I take the dare and just simply survive long enough (without falling down!!!) the seasons will go ’round and bear fruit. Holding onto the hope that usefulness is just around the corner…