In September, I wrote (pridefully) of how I propagated and planted 100 pachysandra cuttings from my parents’ yard into mine. Within a couple of weeks, the cuttings had taken root and appeared sturdy. Over the winter, I checked on them from time to time, when they weren’t blanketed by snow. They drooped, yet remained green and leafy. I anticipated their spring return to robustness.
Flash forward to today: Now they’re trampled, knocked over, torn, dug up, and gone missing in places. Our house is undergoing what, for us, is a dramatic transformation — we’re adding a bedroom over the garage and redoing the rest of the second floor — and the builders and their staging are taking over the pachysandra’s territory.
There’s also a pile of lumber on top of a more established hydrangea given to me by Leah B., a favorite former student and one I tutored frequently when I worked at Simmons. There are ruts in the lawn and broken branches on a holly. Around the foundation, where hostas and plumbago are soon to emerge, are scattered old nails and splinters of wood.
Do I feel sad? No, not that. Do I feel hopeful, that the return of a growing season will restore the trampled green things? Uh, no, because it’s also possible that the fragile pachysandra were too tender to survive boots, tools, and ladders. Yet I don’t exactly feel unhopeful.
I feel… like an accomplice. I set something into motion that’s directly competing with and possibly destroying some other process I set into motion. And all I can do is see it through, and do what I can to repair what’s been broken asunder.
The hydrangea will bounce back. The broken holly will fill out again in a season or two. Hostas are unstoppable and will find a way. It’s the viability of the pachysandra I’m not sure about.