Monday, April 5, 2010


Eight years ago this week, we had a wedding. Lee and Ryan joined hands and hearts April 6, 2002. Lee did not want to get married in March; she doesn't like March and declined to celebrate an anniversary in that month for the next 50-60 years, God willing. It was a windy windy day and warm, too, when we tied bows to the outside decorations and hauled pots of pansies. We called in lots of reinforcements at the greenhouse; Lee may have had one set of ladies stand up with her in church, but the ladies standing with water wands at the greenhouse were just as much a part of the ceremony.
Ryan was new to the greenhouse business and Hursts in general. Lee and Ryan fixed up a rental farm house and he lived over there with new hound puppies while Lee spent the last months in her old room in her parent's home. I know from experience how it feels to try to fit oneself into an already full and happy family, but even knowing didn't guarantee that I made the right moves, said the right things, or didn't say the wrong things. Eight years later, I'm sure home is home, but it took more than the six months Ryan had before his wedding to settle in to quite so many "news".
On the other hand, April is when all the hard work comes to fruition, when we see the results of the orders, the planning, the timing, the watering, the counting. All the long hours, all the worry, all the short tempers, sore feet, headaches, sleepless nights, count down job by job, delivery by delivery, day by day until the watering winds down, the bays empty, the leftovers go home into various gardens and spring warms into summer.
Not so different than the test of marriage. Sometimes tempers flare when two don't think as one. Some days you're just too tired to take a joke. Sometimes a broken glass or a dropped flat, tips the balance just a bit too far. Sometimes its hard to find the balance between work and family when work is compressed into six vital volatile weeks. But plants really need very few things to survive: air, space, support for their roots, water and nourishment. And most are surprisingly resilient; even when a leader is mostly off, the plants in a hanging basket will eke out some growth and will respond with vigor the same day a full measure of water is restored.

Our marriages handle stress the same way. It takes time to establish a full root system and before then, we wilt without attention, we lean without support, we languish if we don't have our full complement of our loved one's sun. On the other hand, we need movement, air, space to grow strong enough to be leaned on and survive the world's storms.
When we're first married, we frizzle, we burn, we melt like alyssum, or zinnias just transplanted if we're short of moisture. But with time, like geraniums, New Guineas, vinca, we can wilt down quite a bit and show not the least wear or tear after repeated stress. No one wants to be pulled out of our pots and left beneath the bench, but we do want to hang in there til someone notices us, tucks us back and waters us in.

March is the month of wind, cold, wet and worry. April is the month of work, pick up, set down, improvisation, water and reward. In May we finish, we check off, we mow, we grill, we plant and finally, we relax. Maybe Lee's right. Who wants to be part of wind and worry? No one gets to skip straight to grill, garden and relaxation. Nope, to marry in April is to work and improvise, to meet the sun coming and going, to make allowances rather than biting each other's head off.

Happy Anniversary, Lee and Ryan!!

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