The Calm of Cutting Dead Lavender Flowers

The lavender bush in our front yard maintains a magnificent state of endless blooming. Not only is it pleasing to my eyes; it provides a bounty of pollen for the honey bees. It is fall here now, and the choice of flowers for the bees and butterflies has diminished. I stand before the bush, scissors in hand, the soft warmth of the fall sun on my back. I do not want to prune the lavender, so must cut the dead flowers one by one. I work with care so as not to disturb the industrious bees as they labor with their velvet touch. The flowers nod in acknowledgement to the visiting bees.

Like the bees, I must work with patient precision, paying delicate attention to detail. I inhale deeply the lavender scent and watch how the furry creatures go about their business of gathering.

I feel immensely rich, having the time to pay attention to these small things. This is how I survive life in the big city. The paying attention is all – to the varied hues of the fall leaves, cloud formations, the backyard birds pecking at the crumbs I’ve sprinkled about, the one California wild iris in bloom, tricked by the warm days.

Next week our occasional gardener is coming to tear down the old lemon tree. Until recently, it provided us with a constant supply of large lemons ever since we bought the house twenty-eight years ago. Gradually we’ve had to amputate dry branches until now only one green branch survives. I will miss it. A replacement thrives in a pot nearby.

Our old apricot tree is also showing severe signs of aging. I fertilize it often, hoping next spring its branches will again be laden with juicy orange globes. It could also be replaced, but I doubt other apricots would be as flavorful. Replacements often do not measure up to their predecessors.

Tortoise update: Speedy Gonzalez has gained one hundred grams! Our patient hand-feeding is bearing fruit. And I’m becoming quite acquainted with the unique design of tortoise anatomy.

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