Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Morning Commute - Phlox

I spotted them a couple of weeks ago as I snaked through the canyon on my way from Condon to work in Hood River.  Phlox.  Pretty purplish-blue phlox, growing wild-as-you-please on the walls of the canyon beside the road.  I had to stop.  I had to take a picture.  The phlox overwhelmed me with a sense of happiness, hope, and contentment.
Wild phlox along on canyon wall on Rt 206.

You see, we had bluish-purple (I am bad with colors) phlox growing below the terraced bit I created in the front of the house in Wheeling, WV.  I never completed the master plan of removing all of the creeping juniper and terracing the whole hill, but I kept dreaming.

The day I "built" my wall  - such as it was - Dad was there.  He was in town for my installation service, and I was very happy for his presence.  My loving father-in-law insisted on "helping" me as I dug, leveled, and built this wall with retaining wall blocks (like I knew what I was doing.)  Unfortunately below our work area was a mass of creeping, ground covering juniper.  When Dad tells the story, he insists I pushed him.  The truth is that all on his own, with one false step, he slid down the hill atop the juniper, bounced off of my Saturn, and hit the pavement.  Standing helplessly, I watched as he fell in that frightening slow-motion-can't-stop-it sort of way.  After the adrenaline rush and with a little TLC, some ice, and banishment from the wall project (except as spectator), Dad was fine.  The incident, however, has taken on legendary status in the family. ("She pushed me." "You fell."  "Yes, after you pushed me." "Dad!" "What?")

A couple of years later, as my terracing project languished, in an uncharacteristic move by Tim, he came home one day with a few pots of phlox.  Tim never gets involved in the gardening.  But, he said, he was at the Kroger, and they were pretty, and, well, he liked the color.  So, I tore out weeds and some of the demonic juniper and planted the phlox.  Over the years it grew, expanding and commanding the space once occupied by unwanted plants.  They were very pretty.

Much like my phlox in WV.
The contentment and happiness I felt when I saw the wild phlox on the way to work a couple of weeks ago, I know is connected to those memories.  What could have been a tragic accident, is now a family tease.  What was once difficult space to manage was transformed by the phlox into beauty.  The commonality between the store bought and wild phlox is a reminder of God's continuing good creation.  I had to stop.  I had to take a picture.  I had to smile for the rest of my drive into work, because phlox is totally awesome.

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