One side of the turn-around in front of our house is bordered by a flower bed that rises up a small embankment. In the early spring, daffodils flash yellow, and after they have had their day (weeks) the day lilies rise and eventually sprout orange blooms like stars. There are more of them than the daffodils, so it seems almost solid orange on a bed of green.
A month or so ago, before our trip to Belgrade, Rosamond called me over to the lilies and, pointing to a plant that had risen higher than the lilies, said, “Is that what I think it is?” Well, let’s see. Serrated leaves in clusters of five springing out from a sturdy stem. Yep, looks like. A volunteer, apparently, as nothing like it has graced our yard before. A few years ago Rosamond found another volunteer under a shrub in front of the house, a single morel mushroom. We ate it, and I have since looked in vain for others of its ilk to rise, if not like phoenixes, like fiddleheads or snow plants.
So, after our trip abroad, almost three weeks, one of the first things Rosamond had to do was check out the garden. Three kinds of beans were mounting their poles; green tomatoes were weighing down their vines; lettuce, radishes, and chives were waiting harvest. Alas, the peas had already dried up while we were gone. Then Rosamond went over to the day lilies. The plant was gone. “I guess the gardeners thought it was a weed,” I said.
I don’t mourn the loss too much because we have another kind of chemistry in our garden. As the light fades in the evening, dozens of fireflies rise from the ground flashing their Darwinian fitness to prospective mates, but for us offering a fleeting display of tiny magic lanterns. And finally, during dinner one evening we saw a skunk circumnavigating the lawn. He went about his business, and so did we.