Downsizing does not include nature. Except for a few small houseplants, you don’t take “nature stuff” with you…from a house to a condo. It usually doesn’t get donated or sold. For the most part, that’s okay. Some of the nature I don’t miss: weeds, massive wasp tree hotels, chipmunk holes, poop in the back yard from the cat next door, wasp nests behind the shutters, leaf piles, ants. Oh, right….and piles of snow that need to be moved. We left that “stuff” of nature behind.
The nature I do wish we could have taken with us? The flowers that came to life in our yard this time of year. The little purple crocuses that sprouted up around the maple tree; sometimes so early they poked through the last of the melting snow. Purple irises that originated in my great-grandmother’s garden in Cincinnati – making it to my parents’ house in NJ and then to our home of almost 37 years. They multiplied over the years and we transplanted them from one side of the house to the other. And then next to the garage. And later, we added trilliums, daffodils and black-eyed susans to the mix.
My husband and I moved to that house in early 1980. No kids yet. We were first time homeowners eager to start “decorating,” so we bought over a dozen tulip bulbs that fall. We ceremoniously planted them in a small patch of dirt next to the house (alongside the iris); with 2 little girls who lived next door watching over our shoulders. We didn’t know it at the time, but although tulips are “perennials,” they don’t last forever. Gradually fewer and fewer showed themselves every spring. Perhaps the salt runoff from the icy driveway killed them off. I think there may have even been a few years with no tulips at all. However during the last few years before we moved out, one tulip showed up. Hooray! A welcome survivor and salute to our first attempt at landscaping.
Lilies of the valley. I miss them most of all. Transplanted from my in-law’s garden in the late 1990’s, they multiplied like crazy – gradually taking over the strip of dirt in front of the house. So delicate. So simple, green and white. Their sweet scent was like no other…when that huge patch was in full bloom, it took my breath away. Literally.
I drove by our former home a few months ago and spotted the crocuses. Next to the tree by the road…same as always. I slowed down, but didn’t stop.