Writer’s Block: Adventure Garden

Port Isabel-South Padre Press

Maybe it was the cold we experienced this winter. I love cold weather days, but in measured doses.

Maybe it was the weeks upon weeks of fog. I love the fog, too. But, as with winter, fog is a treat I like to enjoy only on rare occasion.

Maybe it was just a desire to carve out a small, serene space where I could enjoy the sound of the wind in the trees and the melodic tinkle of wind chimes while basking in the sweet smell of the verdant life around me.

Maybe it was a little from Columns A, B and C. But, whatever the reason, this year I decided to create a patio garden. Truth be told, I didn’t have quite such an elaborate plan in mind at first.

It all began with a rocking chair. Growing up, we always had one in the house. Too, a wooden swing also hung on our front porch. It was built by my grandfather as part of a set of handcrafted patio furniture he made for my father. I remember us kids crowding onto it when we were still small enough to all fit, and rocking back and forth while our parents sipped coffee in the cool of the evening.

So, I wanted a rocking chair. I tried to push the thought away, but it kept returning. Fine. I’d get a rocking chair and maybe a plant to brighten up the patio.

A plant. One.

Well, I found it hard to resist all the brightly colored flowers I saw at the plant nursery near where my parents live. Among the flowering plants I brought home were a six-pack of Texas bluebonnets and a fragrant mix of pink, purple and white stock flowers. I planted the lot together in a large, unused flowerpot I had, and set them up on a stand in a corner of my patio.

I was ecstatic when I saw the first bluebonnet come up. I excitedly took out my phone and began to snap pictures. It wasn’t until several hours later that I noticed something interesting in one of those photos: two pairs of segmented legs peeking up over the edge of a single petal.

It was a spider! A very small one. Its other four legs and its body were hidden from view. When I got home that day I examined the bluebonnet and saw the spider — red brown in color with a lime green stroke across its back — still hiding behind a petal.

Over the next few weeks, I observed this tiny creature making its life in the microcosm of that flowerpot. Each night, if the winds were calm enough, it would emerge and spin a web to ensnare prey. Each morning, it would return to the safety of the bluebonnet to wait out the day and its avian predators. Even as more and more bluebonnets began to bloom, my spider friend remained loyal to that very first flower. I would find him tucked away behind its petals every morning.

Though the pot is still producing plenty of bluebonnets, that very first one is just about spent. Only a few of its blue and white petals remain. My spider friend has taken up residence somewhere else, I think, but I haven’t figured out which flower is its new home. Either way, the garden adventure continues!

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