– Extremities

Although the frequency of my visits to the daphne that Jimmy and I transplanted in September have waned from daily to weekly, I keep monitoring her and doing the little I can to cultivate her return to vigor. Mostly, I have watered the ground inside the dripline, keeping it damp yet not flooded.

In October, her leaves stopped drooping: some fell off, and some sprung back. Her branches no longer looked like slumped shoulders; they regained their uprightness. Last Thursday, on our warm and breezy Thanksgiving Day, a few hours before heading downtown to my brother Michael’s new apartment, I poked around the yard. I pulled out and trashed the spent lantanas and then carefully assessed the daphne.

At the center of some remaining leaf clusters, there are tiny buds.

Bud inside leaf cluster

At the tips of leafless branches, more buds are starkly visible.

Buds at branch ends

Overall, her aspect is alert.

Alert branches

When I visit my endocrinologist for quarterly check-ups on my diabetes, he always checks for two pulses in each of my bare feet: one on the top of the foot, and one on the side, around the ankle. He also pricks the bottom of each foot with a microfilament and asks me if I notice the light touch. The health of the extremities — circulation and feeling in the hands and the feet — coincides with the health of my overall system. And so far, so good. There’s plenty of blood pumping unobstructed to the farthest reaches of me.

I’ll take the buds at the tips of the daphne’s branches as signs that she’s taking up water and nutrients from the roots and compensating for the ones we severed when we transplanted her. Something good that I can’t see is happening underground and inside the vascular tissues.

What I’m worried about now is this: two underage drivers (Grace and George) in a powerful, undersized electric car.

Underage drivers in red convertible

Their roadway, the sidewalk, skirts the daphne’s location. The branches tremble as the two whiz by.


Pictures by Eli Guterman, who recently said to me, “I’ve looked at your blog, Mom, and you make some awkward cropping decisions with the photos I take for you.” I present these, therefore, uncropped.

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