“Where have all the flowers gone?” When will we ever learn? (A truck crash ballad)

So, you know, this spring I had a grand idea of planting a sunflower & morning glory house. Plant the sunflowers in a rectangle & then plant the morning glory seeds so that they can climb up those tall, sturdy sunflower stems. Marcus and Vanessa helped me plant the seeds.  http://articles.latimes.com/1998/jul/25/home/hm-6860

Sunflower house 003 Sunflower house 001 56b Mary and Gertie sunflower

Mary at 2 by a sunflower watching Gertie

It was going well. The sunflowers had started to grow and had reached a second level of leaves. So, I had planted the morning glories and they, too, started to sprout. Then, yesterday, I went to check on them and some creature had decided to feast upon the sunflower leaves. Almost all of them.

Sunflower house 007
A sunflower seed made it through the germination phase.

Sunflowers 035
Some creature nibbled away on this fragile seedling–
and left the morning glories to fend for themselves.

Okay, I had tried growing one of these years ago without success–due to picking a too-shady garden plot. I wasn’t really surprised or devastated that it wasn’t going how I had hoped. But, this time, the bad news came after days and days of remembering our loss of AnnaLeah and Mary. And it was AnnaLeah’s birthday. . .

Mary kids Gertie

After my discovery, I just couldn’t seem to hold it together anymore. My eyes became leaky and I had to work extra hard to distract myself. It wasn’t just a sabotaged sunflower house; it was a symbol of our greater loss–over which I had no control and which I could do nothing to prevent or fix.

(Did you have to remind me of those convoluted truck safety issues which just don’t seem to get resolved –caught up in an endless political process and too-often getting set aside for “more important” matters, as if those 4,000 deaths–on average every year–which lead to pain-without-end are meaningless?)

Fast forward to this morning early–when I could not get back to sleep–when I realized another distressing fact: now I have planted a garden of healthy morning glories (well, until they too might get eaten), whose very destiny was to climb but who will have nothing to climb upon. What have I done?

And how well I can relate (this mother of nine with two who are no more). . .

Adding to the creative work of Pete Seeger & Joe Hickerson (http://performingsongwriter.com/pete-seeger-flowers-gone/):

“Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
Where have all the flowers gone?
Young girls have picked them every one.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?”

Where have all the loved ones gone, long time passing?
Where have all the loved ones gone, long time ago?
Where have all the loved ones gone?
Truck crashes took them every one.
Oh, when will we ever learn?
Oh, when will we ever learn?

Of course, writing about it does not change anything. But the words bring a measure of healing.

 

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