Yesterday was a lovely day, a beautiful last glimpse of summer before fall sets in in earnest. I strolled around outside, examining my garden’s fading glory, and taking one nice little picture of my valiant jasmine plant. This poor little thing has had a hard life, struggling against climate, transplantation, and, most ominously, white-tailed deer. But, it has fought the good fight and at last, late summer though it is, put out five very promising flowers which, yesterday, were on the verge of opening. Here is my... timely... picture:
Take my word for it - the picture is lovely. However, the picture is also absent. Day Two on Blogger.com and I can't get the bloody pictures into this post. I had four...they were good ones too. If it works tomorrow, I'll edit. In the meantime, "imagine, if you will,..."
A delicate, pale-leaved vine, just touched by the late September, late afternoon sun. Dappled light plays on the slender stalk, and, just at the end of one brave, fragile stem, five pale ivory quills reach from feathery green tendrils toward the last of the cool autumn light. The petals are still wrapped tightly in the smooth, pointed bud - one is longer than the rest, and paler...it will probably open first. Not tomorrow, but maybe the day after. The others are slightly darker in colour, not as much ivory as dark cream, almost butter.
I know what you're thinking, and you're right. "Too good to be true." Not one hour after I took this picture, Emily glanced outside and said in her endearing childhood lisp, “Mummy, deyahs! Deyahs ousside!” Charlotte looked and shrieked out, “MUMMY! THERE’S THREE AND THEY’RE EATING YOUR PLANTS!!!” I leapt up from the sofa, hurdled the coffee table in one smooth movement, hit the floor running, and threw open the sliding glass door. The bold rascals just stood there, their chewing for the moment arrested, staring at me. I was not four meters from them, so it was pretty easy to reach down, grab three impressive stones, and hurl them with all my might. The mother took off, but the two fauns (old enough that they were no longer spotted, for all of you who might be feeling entirely too sorry for these predatory and greedy creatures) couldn’t make the jump over the chain link fence, and simply ran around the yard in an increasing panic, hotly pursued by me. No, I didn’t hit the stupid things with rocks, much as I wanted to. I just ran them around in circles, hopefully terrifying the simpletons enough to dissuade them from returning, and eventually chased them into the adjoining woods, before returning to check the damage.
Again, your indulgence for a moment as I paint a picture of what confronted me when I bent to my precious jasmine. NO FREAKING FLOWERS, THAT'S WHAT CONFRONTED ME. The five beautiful ivory quills? Lunch. The pointed, pale-green leaves? Freaking appetizers. The precious inches of tender new growth, on which December's blossoms would have appeared, to comfort our winter-weary souls with the faint, elusive perfume of exotic spring? Elevenses for the THREE BLOODY DEER.
The bastards also made serious inroads into my young, tender hydrangea. The leaves they could have taken with my blessing – it’s a deciduous plant – but they actually cropped the new branches, which I NEEDED FOR NEXT YEAR’S BLOOMS.
---------Pause while author retreats to her happy place---------
All right. I realize that it's all part of life. That my plants simply took their place in the food chain. I will try to refrain from grinding my teeth to tiny nubs, and reflect that plants grow, and sometimes even grow back…it’s what they do. Right? Whatever doesn’t kill them, makes them stronger.