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Fabric of Life - The Flower Path

In the space of two weeks, this became………

The morning dog romp is in the books and I am all jacked up on that Community Coffee.  Seems like a good time to try and arrange some electronic ones and zeros into what eventually might be a weekly blog post.

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I like to count time;  sometimes the days blur and I have trouble recalling if it is Wednesday or Saturday………….. so I count.  It has been 97 days since I have been out for supplies.  That is gonna have to change in the very  near future.   It has been 503 days since I lost Tuco the Dog. That number has bearing on today’s post.

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I would like to think since it is about Easter Time, back in East Tennessee and North Georgia there is an explosion of color.   The Bradford Pears and Dogwoods should be blooming like crazy.  Maybe the azaleas too?  And daffodils; yards full of daffodils.  Down south in the Puckerbrush it ain’t like that – not even close.  Our riot of color is muted and short-lived compared to Southern Appalachia because time and circumstance do not allow more.  By this time of year it is nearly over down here since the rains of winter are mostly done and daily temps are going up and up some more. We don’t even get the Texas Bluebonnet and Indian Paintbrush display this far south.  I enjoy what there is of it ’cause what else you gonna do?

……….this.

Last Spring I don’t know what come over me.  I started to keep a mental catalogue of where the spring flowers bloomed and then waited patiently as the flowers withered and quickly went to seed.  A part of our daily dog romp now involved walking through the dried grass and flowers with a tin cup.  I would patiently remove the seed heads and rub them between my fingers to harvest the seeds into the cup.  Vela Von loved it.  Day after hot day we did this until the sweat ran into my eyes and VV grew tired of the game as I ranged farther and farther afield. She would retreat to the only shade under the NO Princess Palace  and watch me from the shadows with her tongue lolled out and panting as I scattered the contents of the tin cup in a few square feet to the back of The Palace to finish the daily process.

Desert Willow in bloom

Our evening routine changed as well.  This time of year the rooftop AC runs nonstop and I have the RV angled so the condensation runs off on just one rear corner.  In this parched country, that run off would attract little critters.  Little critters attract buzz tails and I’ll be having none of that so close to the RV so I set a 5 gallon bucket to catch the drip.  Some days when the wind is off the Gulf and humidity soars the bucket would be near full.  On other days when the wind backs off to the north and it is dry, maybe an inch or less of water in the bottom of the bucket.  No matter; that.  Every evening Vela Von and me took whatever the bucket offered and splashed it across the area where the seeds had been sown previously.  Every day we did that – even when the seed collecting had long since ceased.  Evening upon evening we did that and it became a ritual that continues to this day.

Diminutive flowers I cannot name

Each morning the first order of the day is to take Vela Von outside to do her business while I am still bleary eyed and lacking even that first sup of coffee.  It is brutal business but I figger I owe a dog that much consideration. Sometimes she has a missile in the tube and some mornings just a full bladder but it does not matter.  I steer her toward the seeded area if possible.  Organic matter is good.  Amending this poor soil is good.  My thoughts at any rate.

In January when things started to get green,  I mixed up a sprayer of weed killer.  Anything with thorns or nettles in the seeded area got sprayed.  The thistles, sand spurs, huisache, baby mesquite and thorny things I could not name got killed deader than a hammer because they had no place in what I was hoping would be a puckerbrush wildflower garden.  I had been at it for a year or better now and I still did not know if my efforts would make a showing or not.   In all this daily going and coming,  Vela Von and me had worn a path between The Palace and where Tuco the Dog rested.  We optimistically started calling it the Flower Path.

A riot of color

The first plants to come out were the blanket flower and I would have been well satisfied with that result alone. As the days wore on, more and more flowers of different variety burst forth.  Purple and white, yellow and gold;  flowers I could not name but vaguely remember collecting the seeds added to the red and orange of the blanket flowers.  The Flower Path turned into a riot of color but always, always I searched for a missing element.

I waited this long apurpose to see if the missing element was going to show up.  The flower path is getting draggley now as it passes its’ prime and I have finally given up any notion of seeing what I was hoping to see.

You see – it was like this. Last Fall,  I was rummaging around for something in The Palace and ran across an envelope way in the back of a shelf. Opening the envelope I discovered 5 packets of seeds as fine as grains of sand.  I knew the origin of these seeds had to be  Little Blondie but I did not have a clue as to why they were acquired.  The seed packets were all poppy seeds of various variety.

Not a poppy anywhere

I did some google-checking and it appeared poppies would grow in this area so one Fall evening I sowed them with care in the same area as all the other seeds had been previously sown.  I thought it a fitting contribution on her behalf to a dog she once loved.

If y’all been hangin’ around here for very long you know I firmly believe everything happens for a reason.  You will also recall I “inherited”  Tuco the Dog when Little Blondie fled south and a dog in tow was too burdensome.  When she became so very sick,  I called Little Blondie over and over thinkin’ she might want a visit with her loyal friend before the inevitable end. She never deigned to answer any call so the final farewell didn’t happen and it made my heart cry.  Tuco the Dog deserved finer recognition.

As the warm days of Spring passed and the Flower Path became almost knee high with a riot of color,  I would search and search for a single poppy in the mix of flowers.  Maybe the pitiful showing was due to the poor, sandy soil or maybe it was the seeds of indeterminate age;  I couldn’t tell you.   I reckon I sowed over 5000 poppy seeds and not a single one grew.  Yeah, everything happens for a reason.  Even when it makes your heart break there is still reason behind outcome.

These days as the flowers wither and the seed heads dry,  Vela Von and me walk through the dry rustle and the seeds scatter – for next Spring and the Springs to come.  Maybe one day when I am long gone from this gate, somebody will pause to wonder what the splash of color is in this corner of the Puckerbrush in such departure from the drab greens and washed out browns as is the norm. Maybe even, the dim path might still be visible.  Maybe they will wander over and discover the flat marble marker on Tuco the Dog’s grave.  Maybe they will connect the Flower Path to the marker and wonder who created the tribute to a good and faithful dog.   Ya never know;  it could happen!  I would like to think so anyway.

The grave marker of Tuco the Dog. Little Blondie said she would pay half- that check must be lost in the mail, right?

 

End Note:  Dawg Eat Dawg by Calvin Russell from The Last Call cd.  I wish Mr.Russell was not obscure – or so dead. Give a listen.

“Dawg eat dawg. It’s a rat race baby.”

 

 

 

 

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10 comments to Fabric of Life – The Flower Path

  • Ken

    No question,a good dog deserves to be remembered. I still remember my last one, a smooth fox terrier called Babe. Let me see you get out the door without her in tow. When I thought about going outside, she went to the door and waited.

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  • Leslie Snyder

    I have lurked and followed your posting for a long time. I see the world the same same. Many of your posts have touched me but this one left me, a grown man pushing 60, a complete ball of tears. Nothing touches your soul more than a faithful dog. End of story, Amen!

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  • Rob

    I’m in Ellijay, pretty close to north Georgia. The Daffodils came & went, the assorted trees are just starting to blossom and the trees are in the process of greening out.
    Your flower patch is nice… Thanks for sharing.

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    • Linda

      My family came from the Ellijay and Talking Rock area. I have not been back in almost ten years. The Deboatd and Willis families. That is a very pretty part of the country.

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      • Andy

        Linda
        I remember the area and how unspoiled and untouched it was by Big City influence back in the 70’s. When I returned in the early 90’s most of that was gone. I do not like to think what it would be like today.

        Andy

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  • Richard

    I figured a sensitive fellow lived somewhere inside the crust…Well said and better felt.

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  • Darryl from Alberta

    Thanks for bringing a touch of humanity to the ‘patch.

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  • MissV

    I was really touched by this post. I have been following you for a long time now, and have never seen you relay such a range of emotion in such an eloquent manner. This post really connected with me. Thanks for sharing.

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    • Andy

      Thanks for all the gracious comments. One thing about it, I am a better man because of Tuco the Dog. And especially to Vickie – I miss your West Texas tales you used to share with us. Any chance of that happening again? Please ma’am

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  • MissV

    Well,I reckon I might be able to come up with a story or two if it might please your readers.

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