I had meant to take a picture of this tree just last week when it was fully ablaze with autumn colour. I planted it about five years ago, only ever expecting that it might live one season to the next, but it is growing to an admirable height for a dwarf tree, and it is truly eye catching with its intense orange surrounded by browns and greens and dark purples.
I could describe it and it might be just as well, it would force me to use words instead of pictures. When I drove through a little collection of homes this weekend, smaller than even a village, one of the properties was coated in bright yellow as if someone had sprayed-painted the whole place; the trees were still covered and now the grass and even parts of the old brick house were plastered with yellow leaves. It was magnificent.
A new friend who I had meant to see and spend time with, enjoying talking about gardening and weather and various other topics we have in common, now lies, ill and, from what I understand, barely able to converse. I thought of her the moment I saw my lingering leaves.
Her husband, another new friend, had passed away in the spring, and I had told my self to give his wife some time and space before seeing her. Likely the last thing a bereaved person wants is time and space. “I had meant to,” amounts to nothing when we don’t get a second chance.
For now I have wonderful memories of the time I shared with both of them. Her husband planting ideas in my head about how I should plan for my future, and her, sharing her plantings, her extremely dry and too clever wit, her honesty, and all the things that there never seem to be enough of in my life.
Looking back, I have a collection of might-have-beens, that remind me that I was once loved by those whose passing was far to soon. And for my part I was busy moving from city to city, never settled enough to spend time. Even now, I am finally taking the time to say enough is enough. It is time to stop, savour, take the picture and yes, smell the damn flowers, touch their papery petals, be grazed by their thorns infused by their colour and light.
And If I could take that particular garden of their love with me from day to day, I know there would never be a reason to feel sad, alone or lonely.