Liralen Li (liralen) wrote,
Liralen Li

Apprentice Angel of Death

When I'm dead-heading roses in the church rose garden by myself, it's a peaceful, contemplative exercise. Even when I'm donating blood to the thorns and roots of the cranky little bushes, it's a good time to think as I work.

When I'm dead-heading roses in the church rose garden with an eager seven-year-old in his work gloves really wanting to help, I felt more like the angel of death with a really, really willing apprentice who, occasionally would say, "Wow, that's a pretty one, can we take that one, too?"

Given that we were using that nomenclature, too, it was mildly surreal. And Jet cheerfully took everything I told him to, and commented that it was hard to tell which ones needed to be cut off and which ones could be left. At one point he said, "Well, maybe we should just cut off all the flowers because they're all going to die anyway."

And I just held my head in my hands and counted five.

He had a point.

But... he listened when I said that I really wanted to leave most of them so that the plants could be pretty for everyone else to enjoy. The buds would take a while longer to open than a week, so we shouldn't cut them all off.

There was one point where I did say, "Cut all of these pink ones."

And when I turned around he'd done not just the branch I'd pointed at but two more, including a brand newly opened bud and when I reacted with horror, he said, "But, Mom, you said all the pink ones."

I backed off, as I HAD said those words, and one additional word might just not have been picked up. When I said that we could take a few of the newer ones to take home and keep for ourselves, he offered the one he'd taken by mistake. It was pretty obvious he understood what was going on, and so we took that one home in a tiny plastic cup and it now graces our breakfast table with its fragrance and grace of the last days of its life.

It's odd, now, these last few days, to suddenly realize that for the previous three months I was thinking "okay, what if I am going to die in the next five years... is this what I really want to do" a lot more often than I realized. Because now I keep thinking, "Wow... I don't have to worry about not living to see this finished" way more often than I thought I would be.

One interesting thing is realizing that for the last three months I've pretty strictly prioritized myself to time with people I love, time to exercise, and time to create. Period. Vacations, sleep, and volunteer work all went over the edge of "not worth it anymore". And now I realize that I was really acting, hard, on what was important to me, not just what was urgent or what other people needed or wanted. It's a new feeling for me.

It's pretty good, too. It was easy to say "No." when I thought my time was limited, but the habit is now formed, and it's easier to just say no to volunteer work that doesn't really matter to me as much. I'll probably still do the spring trip to Biloxi and possibly even a fall trip as things are starting to shape up on that front. But the OUR center garden, which has a bunch of other volunteers, and church work that other people could do, I am just saying no to with far more frequency and less self-doubt than before.

I need to create. Far more than I knew of myself before.
Tags: gardening, health
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