The Red Azalea’s

5 06 2011

My ‘across the street’ neighbor’s red azaleas bloomed their  little heads off this spring. Jane planted those bushes at the corner of their car port, back in 2001, where she and Stan could see them, first thing, every time they came home. Everybody on our block knew how little green there was in Jane’s thumb, so we were taken back that spring when she put those bushes in and not just one but three  of them . High expectations we smiled to ourselves.

To say they didn’t really ‘take off’ those first two years would have been  kind. But somehow they made it through that summer and stubbornly straggled through the 107 degree days of the next. Stan was careful not to cut them down as he rode around the modest lot on his mower though the blooms those years were sparse.

Then, that third year, Jane’s cancer was confirmed and Stan spent that summer awkwardly, painfully, hopefully, trying to make it better for her.

By the next spring she was gone and a good part of Stan went with her.

Life can be full of irony, pain,mystery and joy.

Earlier  this winter, before there was a solitary bud on a single limb of those azalea bushes  Stan, too,  crossed over to that better land the hymns promise us.

It’s taken a whole 10 years for those azaleas to come into their own but this year those bushes that Jane had so optimistically planted  were rapturously glorious.  Looking out my window, across the street at them, they were just pure, plain,  bittersweet  joy to behold……. remembering Jane.

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