Our town is aflame with crape myrtle at the moment. It’s everywhere you turn, lighting up merchant streets, neighbors’ yards and sidewalk strips with vibrant colors. The lovely crape myrtle tree has a special place in my heart, as it takes me back immediately and always to those days when Grandma was in her nursing home in Sonoma. Many of the ladies in the home used to gather each afternoon in the large sunny lobby, looking out through floor to ceiling windows and large glass doors. They poignantly had placed themselves in the best position to see who came and went. It was the hub of unexpected activity. They also enjoyed a ringside view of the quiet sidewalk and street out front. Perhaps someone was pulling into the parking lot, or a child was walking by with a dog, or a group of children were walking to school. One never knew. While there was a well cared for lawn in front, and large, shady trees and several bushes, there was not really a lot of color, I noticed. Between the sidewalk and street was a wide strip of lush green grass, always well trimmed, but I began to see it as an open canvas, begging for a new look, enhancing the view of the clutch of older women who kept their vigil in the lobby. Hmmm…
As fate would have it, I happened upon a sale one afternoon of small crape myrtle trees, each sporting pink or rose or lilac flowers. And I noticed immediately that they were remarkably well priced.
Inspiration and boldness struck, and I rang the nursing home and asked to speak to the head nurse, with whom I had a very caring relationship, and who had decision-making authority.
“Pam? This is Kathryn. Guess what?”
“I’m at a nursery down on Highway 12 and they have crape myrtle trees on sale. Yes, that’s right! Can I buy some? I can? How many?”
So I did. Now to get them “home.” I always say that an Explorer Sport is like those teeny cars I used to see as a child at circuses. The doors would burst open and twenty clowns would tumble out. Anything fits in an Explorer I have said a thousand times. So in the Explorer the five trees went, yes, they did, and off I drove to the nursing home to deliver! Within days the gardener in attendance had put them all in place in the wide lawn strip to begin their lives within the view of many elderly folks living out their last days in that nursing home. It is nearly eight years since they were planted. My witnessing of the crape myrtle here in my town kindles the warm knowledge that several dear souls are down in Sonoma enjoying same, simply because of a moment of inspiration bestowed on a loving granddaughter who sought to make her Grandmother’s last home as beautiful as she had always been accustomed. The ripples of that love spill into the lives of others’ grandmothers today.
In honor of that sweet memory I was moved to capture the spirit of the benevolent crape myrtle to share with all of you.
I was touched that this last one is sporting its next incarnation: berries. I love that as a metaphor, don’t you? Life goes on in its new form.
And so it continues, this spirit of benevolence with which we are all blessed, should we merely turn our attention inward and listen to the whisperings of our open gentle hearts. Oh, my dears, how the world needs you and your own inspirations. Listen and dare to act.
With love and garden blessings,
Posted on August 12th, 2008 by Kathryn
Filed under: Plants