What Price Beauty?

05/03/2018 by syrbal-labrys


No doubt with that title, you expect a feminist-toned monologue against shaving legs, wearing make-up, and cosmetic surgery? Nope.  I am too old to argue about trite trivialities like that and it is also too prosaic for me.

I am as bad a gardener as I am a witch, perhaps?  Or perhaps I really am a romantic as a professor used to say to me in a tone of irritation?  (Not of the Pre-Raphaelite sort – you can keep that tubercular crap, thanks!). I am stopped cold mid-mission in my life by things I should be ripping out by the roots and instead I am silenced and stilled by splendor.  Some of that beauty comes at a tiring price – one I pay with fewer and fewer complaints.

It is gardening catch-up season here.  I usually begin the weed attack in February, but this year a sinus infection made going out of doors singularly unattractive.  So I’ve beat my own tail all through April getting gardens weeded and various areas planted.  A last hold out was done today, but alas, I left what will be seeds of my own future labor!

Yes, a buttercup interspersed with blackberry vine coming through a fence at the damp rocky edge of the yard stopped me.  Both need elimination – but not today.  Today it will survive to be dewy-damp and shiny in the morning sun.  When we moved here over 30 years ago, the entire half acre was damp and rocky – no soil, no flower beds, no gardens.

We are still fighting, still building beds. Only a couple things besides the towering fir trees are still “native” to the yard.  Some sword ferns beside the porch have been kept and nurtured, and some crazy “milagro” like appearances are original.  Solomon’s Seal came up like a wildling and I have transplanted it here and there where it delights me every April/May.  It is especially pretty with the purple-black Queen of the Night tulips – although it hasn’t actually opened yet.

And on the Labyrinth?  There amidst the stones as I weed, I find tiny brown mushrooms of an undetermined type.  They are pretty amidst the wild sweet violets that keep trying to take over the Walk.  I never can bring myself to eradicate the violets even though control of them so I can SEE the stones TO walk is a continuous task.  Why would I kill the violets when on any given May Day I might pick and sugar them to decorate a cake or cookies?  My children loved sugar-crisped and dried flowers.  Storing them against a future baking day was a total waste of time since I didn’t have a lockable safe in my kitchen!

We are not sampling the mushrooms, however!  Last time we did THAT (with a different mushroom appearance), they were some version of the psilocybin family.  I felt slightly euphoric after eight hours of sweating and living very close to the toilet – but I wasn’t sure that was ever worth a repeat performance!

Now, my price for beauty paid for this day?  I am off to enjoy another beauty we made for ourselves – a soak in the tub before indoor duties call me back out of green water and steam!  My work outdoors used to be a much hated task.  But those unexpected bits of beauty, even created by allegedly unwanted things, now feed me through it.

Well, that and the fact that I tell my Apple Watch “exercise ring” that I am doing “flexibility” work outs!  I DO think duck walking around a Labyrinth pulling weeds counts, as does prising weeds free of pavers and battling blackberry vines.  Apple’s watch designers might disagree, but you know what?  I don’t care.  I “dance” through housework, “flex” through gardening and “strength train” through moving dirt and rocks.

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Herland

The name of this blog, and my Dreamwidth blog, Herlander Refugee, is taken from a 1915 feminist novel "Herland". It makes my heart sing that modern women are experimenting with creation of a new "Herland"! Yes, comments are closed. Anyone who just MUST reach me can do so at syrbal6 at gmail dot com.

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