What can I say? It all came down to nothing this year. Without you. Last night I missed the Good Friday service. I was too tired after cleaning the house. I guess a clean house meant more to me than being saved, and I am not being facetious. It seems that all those years of you telling me that I was free, saved, guiltless, harmless, meant nothing to me. Such is the life of a non-believer who lies to everyone, even to himself (ok herself, call me what you will, it does not matter to me).
And Jane keeps telling me I clean too much, that my house is empty of warm and cozy comforting things. She called it a “death house”. Just a few weeks ago. Before that she said “A is evil.” Then she said I was “the General”. I found that actually flattering. I was never called such a powerful thing before. I would generally call myself a mouse, a little tiny mouse, or maybe a scared rabbit. Just the other day walking around the garden I jumped three feet in the air after seeing a huge misshapen thing and realized it was my own shadow. I have heard that said: “scared of their own shadow.” Well I know exactly what that means. I also now know what “driving me to my grave” means. I know the meaning of many things now.
You would be happy to know that I have not had a drink all week. It’s not that I didn’t want to I just had no time for booze, or shopping, or even eating. All I wanted was a clean house. Since I will never have a clean soul. Clean slate. That would be nice too but it’s too late for that.
I can’t even get the garden to grow. The way I want it. It just does what it wants and has for years now. I thought I planted the burgundy hyacinths along the side path and it ended up in a diagonal line near the back Viridis yew. And they are struggling as there is not quite enough sun there—– they look like shriveled livers. The yews made it though. The $40.00 one has grown one foot taller than the two $120.00 ones. I argued with the garden center experts who tried to explain to me the difference between the root balls and the expensive ones had a larger root ball. Well, the one with a smaller root ball has grown taller and healthier and that is a perfect case of believe what you see on top not what is underground.
I suppose these things are similar to the stories you told me so fervently about your conversion about you being saved and ready to go and be resurrected and seeing Mom again. I have not thought about Mom now for a long time because I can’t wait for her anymore to reply can you? I talk to her sometimes when I walk over to the park and look at her memorial tree, the one I had to go and prune myself with Jane last fall, because the park district here knows nothing about trees and lets things die everywhere. I will not go into that again but you know that sometimes I really loathe living here because the houses are getting taller and wider and the trees are getting shorter and well…… they are actually disappearing like someone gave them diet pills or something, or maybe poisoned the water.
Oh did I tell you? I have stopped being an environmentalist as well as stopped believing in most things…. especially human things. Human things depress me now. They are going into the garbage bin with the banana peels and the onion skins. I read you could even drop in dirty Kleenex and that really disgusted me. But I guess all things break down in the earth. It made me realize I have not scatted your ashes yet. Talk about procrastination. Well that is my dirty little secret. I am the real procrastinator here. The real last minute late one. The one who is saving their soul for last. I have not even read your death certificate because well, if I don’t I can pretend you are still alive. Traveling somewhere. Where did you go? Are you sitting on a star? Flying with the monarchs? Hiding in a peony like a little ant? Sipping on sweet nectar of the phlox? I can’t think of another more exotic bee flower. Oh I need to let you know that something really odd is happening in the garden. The roses have gone HUGE. I always wanted tall, trailing, vigorous, climbing roses. And they are doing that now even though their trellis’s are rotting, rusting, falling apart all around them. The roses are holding up the trellises not the other way around.
And the odd thing is that the roses were really short and lacking solid branches, actually they were almost non existant. And it’s been freezing since October and it’s April 16 and the roses, those red ones that I did not plant…. Well they’ve grown about six feet taller. How? When? During the snows I guess, there is no explanation. I must ask the squirrel gardener or the rabbit landscaper. I do not know who planted them. The original owners….. I have since maligned them, sorry even cursed them a bit because they built a very difficult, complex and wicked house. Yes, my house is evil not me. The water from all the rains is everywhere and the pump is still pumping it out onto the front lawn at a rate of every 9 minutes now. Down, or is it up from 3 minutes last week? I move that hose— it’s a long thick black snake of a hose— well I move it secretly around midnight closer to the sidewalk and it gushes out onto the public sidewalk. When people walk by with their dogs or from their night walks, they think it’s the Apocalypse, a tidal wave, a tsunami on Oak Street. They run like scared rabbits and then in the early morning I put it back towards the house, and the sidewalk dries, and all is still not right again. Because it starts up again. I have told you all this before but really I wonder why God, there I said his name. Or as my priest has often said lately she/he. I wonder what mom would say. “It’s a different world my dear it’s ok just go with the flow….” Well anyway I wonder why God has gifted me with all this abundance of water? What can I do with all this water? Drown? Give it away? I wish I could give it away to those who need it, want it desperately. Take, please take all this water away from me.
The pink tulips that I thought I planted in masses are scattered throughout the garden, done especially for me by those garden designing squirrels and rabbit landscape artists. I also planted some rotting bulbs last fall thinking they would feel sorry for me and pop right up. The blue teardrop black spruce made it too. It cost $100.00 and was only a foot high and I was hoping it would survive. The “Frankie Boy” arbovitae made it too and is starting to be that beautiful chartreuse color. The color you hate because you said it looks sick. You also hated seeing those massive Bald Cypresses at the Botanic garden last fall that were a deep rich walnut or is it hazelnut shade of brown? You said they looked dead and it ended up me wanting to just walk away and be there by myself because what you think is dead I think is alive and what I think is beautiful you think is ugly and I realize that you hate me too.
Alicia wrote a very strange email and posted it to everyone last month. She said she always knew that I had a “magic garden”. I told her once that she could come and visit the garden any time she wanted. And she did. Sometimes late at night I saw her wandering around there.. or after church on Saturdays, while I was making dinner. The kitchen window looks out onto the garden and there she was. Sometimes it frightened me, seeing her there. She is a rather large person and I often thought it was a stranger doing evil things in my garden. She also wrote about having visions, thinking strange thoughts, doing automatic writings about very complex things like siphoning off water from one place to another from one part of the world to another. She said these things came to her in the spirit. Everyone who got that email, I think, thinks she is a bit crazy. But not me. Because I have seen roses grow in winter and I have a rabbit landscaper and a squirrel gardener.
Back to those ashes. It is something I must do. Soon. I think I want to rent a boat, a big beautiful boat and take you out to sea and take a few humans I still like who don’t think I’m evil and I want to mingle both of those ashes. You and mom. Do you believe I still have her ashes? I still can’t believe how many ashes there are. It was that $2,500 casket, I think, those ashes. Here I thought it was blood and bone and brain. Do brains burn? I do believe it was the casket. Like the garden center, funeral homes lie too.
I will take the boat out to the wide open sea and scatter both of you there. I am sure you are tired of sitting on my sun room floor surrounded by your collages and with a bible on top. I thought you might like the bible on top of you. I tried to read it last night and stopped again. Then I read the Lent devotions instead. Then I had to return a phone call and reading the devotions made me nervous as I had also called you to talk a bit and also ordered a pizza and knew that the pizza guy would soon be walking up the very dark path to the house…. I thought he might trip on the black snake hose, get his shoes wet on the path or lawn. So I moved it all and turned on the lights for him and quickly tried to read the devotions. My excuse was I was so hungry. I have been too busy to buy groceries and have been eating that very brothy light soup I made with cauliflower, spinach, carrot, celery and green onions. It has a delicious springlike very light flavor but that is it. It is too light. I still eat like a horse. I had three bowls of it and was still hungry. I thought I should starve myself and just suffer like Jesus did. But you always told me we did not have to do that. Starve ourselves. Whip ourselves. Deny ourselves. Kill ourselves. Guilt ourselves. You told me that for years and years and years. And still I did not believe. I honestly think that the opposite is true. But reading the devotions… they are by a Dutch priest called Henri J. M. Nouwen by the way…… he wrote a lot about loneliness and was very self aware… but I have not read enough yet to give an honest opinion, because honestly he also demands too much. I just can’t do it while I’m still alive. I think I know now what being alive is about and it’s not pretty.
Well I know that I am rambling on here now. Like I did when you were alive and we spent two hours on the phone. This year is different. Last year was different. The year before that too. What year is it by the way? I really honestly can’t remember. All I know is you are gone. The roses have gone wild, The rabbits and squirrels work for me now. I am lost completely now. I can’t feel my heart anymore. I don’t even know what a soul is much less try to save it. And, truly, I am not being facetious because really I do not even know what that word means. I have to look up things in the dictionary constantly. I get bored doing that because really I don’t want to communicate with people anymore. I would like to learn bird language though. But the birds flee more and more from humans. I don’t blame them. They do sometimes look at me, yes make eye contact when I stand shock still like a statue, frozen like Orpheus when he looked back at Eurydice. They seem to know that I am not completely evil because I give them water and clean the birdbath out for them. I have found that birds do appreciate clean water– if they can get it. Otherwise they are quite desperate too and splash about and even drink the filth. Please excuse the spelling and the grammar, the typos… my spell check does not work anymore and since I do not believe in human beings anymore I have no use for their language. That bird though…. it knows, it knows my struggles and I think it can read my mind. I know this and it may be my little messenger, because as fragile, as delicate, as tortured by this human world that these/this little bird is/are/was…. it still can fly away… straight into the sun and moon and the stars and it can tell SOMEONE …. help me.. Help me get away from this earth and get back to YOU again.