Yesterday I decided to swing by Southwood Nursery on my way to the grocery store. It’s just a few miles from my apartment.
When I want to relax and not be inside a store, that’s often where I head. I like to walk around, listen to the water fountains, and just enjoy being outdoors with so many plants and birds and butterflies around me.
It’s kind of a heaven on earth.
Naturally my cart went right to the Japanese Maples.
The tree specialist came up to me and we talked about trees. I mentioned the Japanese Maple. But once we came to the Jade Butterfly tree and he explained why he likes them so much, I was sold.
I told him that I love the turning of leaves in the fall. The Jade Butterfly turns a bright yellow. And when you open up a leaf with your fingers, it resembles a butterfly in shape.
Under the landscape use, the tag says: Woodland Garden, Urban Garden, Firescaping/Fire Wise.
It can grow 12-15 feet tall. And can grow up to 10 feet wide. Hardiness is Zone 4-9.
I got a pot they told me was the right size, their potting mix and one of those rolling plant gizmos so I can move it around. And of course the tree.
I’ve invested $125 total in this tree. It is like furniture for my patio. It is the bones of my garden space. And you know what they say about good bones.
I then headed to the grocery store, sipping on the sweet tea I’d picked up. For some irrational reason I was so pleased with myself.
My mind roamed back to when I lived in Texas, when my confidence was on the floor.
I remembered how scared I was to even think of venturing out on my own at age 54. Moving to another state with the pupsters and starting a new life.
I still recall looking in the rear view window at my house, my beloved home. With my pond and flower gardens and huge pavilion.
I told myself: This is the last time you will see that house. And I flipped up the turn signal and turned right on my way out of town.
That very day my ex was moving back into what was our home with his girlfriend. It was no longer my house. It would be her house.
I wondered: Do I even know what I’m doing? Can I really pull this whole new life thing off?
And here I am more than six years later. Thriving. I’m 60 now, and a little worse for wear with the ankle injury.
I lived in a little blue house for awhile. But after the injury, I couldn’t handle the steps carrying groceries, and so I moved to this patio apartment.
Life isn’t perfect. But it’s good. It’s really good.
My confidence is no longer on the floor. It’s going up, up, up with no end in sight. I did it. I found a way to make money and take care of us.
Have you ever seen that commercial on TV of the African-American woman who’s taken the ancestry test to see what nationality she is?
She puts on this big hat, looks in the mirror and says: “It’s just a hat. But it’s the most important hat I’ve ever owned!”
Well, this is just a tree. But it’s the most important tree I’ve ever owned. Because it’s part of my new confident life.
I have my patio set to rights with the removal of the problematic trees. And I have this whole new appreciation and excitement about that patio. Silly as that may sound.
I will live here indefinitely. For the most part, I’m happy here.
I may live in the city, but I can and do have a nice urban garden. I had a gazebo for a year, and loved it, but it was not long for this world in the brisk and sometimes brutal Oklahoma winds.
That’s okay. I make the best of things. I adapt.
In gardening terms, I’m a perennial.
Tree and groceries in tow, I got home and realized that I had a sun roof on my Pathfinder. I have not used it since I moved to Oklahoma because I somehow forgot all about it.
Had not given it a single thought.
I realized that the young man who put my tree in the car didn’t really have to angle the tree in the front just so to make it fit. I could have opened the sun roof that I somehow forgot about for over six years and the tree could have stuck out the sun roof.
This made me laugh. I’m such a dufus about a lot of things. I forget how to turn on my car lights because I rarely use them. So when the weather gets stormy and it gets dark I have to figure them out all over again.
But one thing I know for sure: when I fall down, I pick myself back up. I may cry. But I rectify the situation as best I can. And I move on stronger than I was before.
You win some, you lose some. Life goes on.
It doesn’t really matter what happens to you. It’s how you deal with what happens to you that really counts.
I don’t need a man. I don’t even want a male companion. And he said I couldn’t make it without a man to take care of me.
As I drove down the road I’ve driven many times, I realized that the home I was driving to is just an apartment.
But it’s the most important place I’ve ever lived.
What I’ve learned: Live in the now. Don’t try to look too far ahead.
Life is ever changing. Sometimes it picks you up and plops you down somewhere you never thought you’d land.
But what is important is that you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move forward.