from (Within My Illusions)
She held the dress close to her face
and breathed in
Sandalwood essence lingering in her hair.
And though she knew she would never wear it again,
She placed the dress in the "keep" pile.
This week I did a different kind of spring cleaning. As I returned home from a walk, I noticed that many of the bushes and shrubs in my front yard that had lost their leaves in the Texas winter freeze were starting to grow from the ground up. We’ve had a lot of rain lately, so there were also a lot of weeds.
Generally, I’m not a fan of gardening, but I actually love weeding, perhaps because it's a task that will never be done, a reminder that nothing is every finished. I wasn’t in a hurry that day, so I borrowed some pruning shears from my neighbor and began pruning back some of barren limbs on the plants.
Two agave plants didn’t make it through the freeze and seemed to be disintegrating, almost melting, into the ground. Their once vibrant green hue had turned to bruise-like shades of yellow, purple, and brown. It seemed like it was time to clear the remnants of these lifeless succulents.
I started to move the top layer of wilt and found so much happening in between the leaves—insects and smells and goopy liquid. It was revolting. And at the same time, I was astonished to find that something inside me found it beautiful. A part of me wanted to clear it away and say, This is ugly and has served its purpose. But another part of me questioned whether that was really true.
I could almost feel the enthusiasm of the insects as they reveled in the feast they had landed upon. I wondered what was in the soup that was seeping back into the heart of the plant. Maybe the agave had served the purpose that I'd intended for it when I had it planted, and certainly I’ve disrupted the natural order of things by even planting it there in the first place, but it didn't seem to be done fulfilling its purpose. It certainly has more to give. Nature has her own way of continuing despite my best efforts to define borders and parameters.
I decided to leave the agaves alone for now, though I’m guessing the time will come where I might clear it away, just like I eventually let go of the dress in the poem. Or maybe I'll wait until it becomes absorbed back into the soil, the way the memory evoked by the dress nourished and reabsorbed back into me. I don’t need the tangible reminder anymore.
After I left the agave, I started pulling weeds and grass runners that were growing over the stone bed. As I cleared those out of the way, I found a new sprout of agave, just starting to emerge.