Just as Iraq has been occupied for five years, I myself have been occupied... preoccupied.
It has been an extended period of personal loss.
Standing as a visible metaphor is our garden. Once diversely vibrant and full of life which sustained; corn, squash, carrots, tomatoes... the works.
The yard is still full of life, of the type that chokes other life off; weeds, crabgrass and blackberry vines.
It's a jungle out there.
Last year I began a clean-slate campaign to eradicate this unwelcome wilderness. I got as far as laying waste to the entire lawn. I hit a snag trying to remove the last of the hops. They've been in the ground a good four years or so. I never knew they were bamboo's evil twin, spreading like wildfire underground. Try as I might, I just couldn't get the mother plant out before the long, dark and wet Winter set in.
An out of town friend stopped by yesterday for a little TGIF, a country girl as it happens to be. I showed her the pitiful site which is our outback. She couldn't help but pull up a weed here and there, root and all. I shamed myself into action this morning. I would conquer this mother of all hops today. My implement, a trenching shovel. But no matter how deep I dug, she clung tight to the earth. This thing had a tap root reaching half way to the 2008 Summer Olympics. I decided to cut my losses and cut the mother out of the hole I was beginning to dig. One by one I played moyel on the roots with a limb trimmer. Eventually, I came to IT... a tap root so thick, I considered getting a chainsaw. Wedging the tool between my legs like some sort of Thighmaster, I finally separated the shrub from the soil.
But this victory did not come without loss. Somewhere amidst the struggle, I lost my wedding band. Somehow, I'm at Zen with it. Some time in the past, I'd be having a cow, but now... I know what's important. My ring is a symbol of what's most important. Absent the token, what's most important still is present. My Partner and I have already talked about replacing this, the reminder of what is truly irreplaceable.
I am reminded of a scene from Harold and Maude. The infatuated lover bestows upon the object of his affection a token of his esteem, a ring he made at the fair bearing the words "HAROLD LOVES MAUDE." Full of gratitude, she tosses it into the water saying, "So I'll always know where it is."
My Partner is also my college sweetheart, and as for his golden gift, I'll give finding it the old college try. It's really not lost however, nor even misplaced. For now, it's a treasure in Heidi's Victory Garden.
[Update: One week later...]