On this September 7, 2015 with the looming eventual parting of ways with our house and garden from 1986 Rosemary and I look at each other as we wander in our beginning-to-wane fall garden. We look at each other but we don’t voice out loud what we are thinking. The big trees, the many roses, the grasses in the scheme of life are they less important if we believe they have no soul?
My mentor and friend, religion teacher, philosopher, mathematician, musician (could play every instrument of a marching band) Brother Edwin Reggio, CSC once told us about life (he obviously agreed with the view of Darwin) that in the scheme of things we had basic rocks that little by little became more complex in their makeup. And somewhere something became organic (the chemistry of old was divided into organic and inorganic). I may have been a primitive one-celled cell that learned the process of mitosis. The one-celled and multi-celled organisms became more complex. We had little sea creatures, viruses amoebas which then in ever more complex mutations led to small fish, reptiles, large reptiles, birds, mammals and finally apes of all kinds. Like philosopher Erich Fromm, Brother Edwin gave us the more liberal interpretation of genesis in which God intervenes and blows a soul into Adam and Eve. Brother Edwin saw no conflict between Darwin and Genesis. He had obviously read Teilhard de Chardin’s The Phenomenon of Man.
Brother Edwin then explained that man was a mating of body and spirit. In fact he said that we were the ultimate combination of those too. But then from body and spirit the next rung on his evolutionary ladder is pure spirit. But even there, we would see an ever more route towards a complexity to perfection. There were many tiers of angels and the top one included the archangels of which one was the fallen on Satan. Ultimately pure spirit was God.
From this idea I look at my plants and wonder if they are less important than I am in the scheme of life. My roses communicate to me by performing for me or by urging me to take a whiff of their scent. I look at some of my hostas and my mind remembers where they came from and of particular human friends of mine who played a very human nature of mixing pollen from here to put it there, just like bees but with more sense of purpose.
Just because a hosta is plain and green it does not mean I am to ignore it for a more “look at me, I am variegated”.
The plants in my garden these days (in my imagination are whining, barking and growling at me) are dogs in a cage at the dog pound or the SPCA. They all want to be taken home. I can only take one of them as it was those many years ago in Mexico City when we put down Antonio, our very old and sick Boxer. I knew that the best cure to a dead dog and a sad state of affairs was to instantly adopt a new one. The dogs at the pound were all barking. One wasn’t. She was a rather ugly, fly-coloured gray that had some terrier in her. Rosemary and I felt so sad for her we brought her home.
Our plants, my roses are like the dogs in that pound. They are clamouring to take them, to play a sort of botanical Noah’s Ark where room is limited. What am I to do?
The English Rose, Rosa ‘English Elegance’ has been especially skillful at getting my attention. With Rosa ‘Wild Edric’, Fair Bianca and Sweet Juliet she has been in bloom constantly all summer, including early summer. For the first time since the end of May when the first bloom appeared today there no flowers to be found on the sprawling and tall bush on my gazebo. Why?
Because to scan the picture you see here I cut them all leaving a few buds that will open in a few days.
How about that? Something positive on an otherwise melancholy Noah’s Ark before the storm. Another September 7 this one in 2013
Originally published at blog.alexwaterhousehayward.com.