Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Upon My Mother's Rock

Rocks, especially the kind you can pick up in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, have been a part of my life from the beginning. My mother gardened with rocks, and her mother did as well. They lined their flower beds with them, paved their paths, propped up bird baths, and used them as garden sculpture. They both gardened on a hillside, and rocks were used for retaining those hillsides. A newly planted shrub or perennial always had a few rocks placed at the base of the plant to discourage armadillos or dogs from digging them up. When our parents, and then our grandparents passed away, it was the rocks that I and my siblings were most eager to haul to our own gardens. Lots of these rocks were large. Playing around them as a child they were pedestals to stand on and maybe get a head above the rest, or reach that bottom limb of a tree to climb even higher. They were also places for critters to hide. Of course, I was always admonished to use a hoe or similar tool to turn over a rock, a habit I adhere to this day. One small retaining wall became a haven for box turtles, and therefore became a regular stop when making a “perimeter check” of my backyard. The rock in the picture was one of my mother’s prized rocks because it had moss growing on it. It also had a piece of resurrection fern growing among the moss up until a couple of years ago. Got to see if I can get that going again. All that green dressing made it highly desirable in my eyes, too, so it was one of the first ones I carted off. It is a big one. I am sure my husband did some major heating pad time after moving it. We hauled it to our first home in South Louisiana, and a couple more after that before bringing it to Morehouse Parish. Of course it came to Kalorama when we moved here, and when I set up the fountain as it is now, it got the place of honor to the right of the statue, “Katy.” The moss and resurrection fern was much remarked on by visitors. And then the other day I noticed a small garter snake sprawled over the rock, gazing out over the water. A fine perch, indeed, though highly exposed, as is often the case when one elevates themselves above the others. I was happy to see it enjoying my mother’s rock.

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