Created Thursday, 01 July 2010 14:06
by Julia Hayden

Neighborhood Mysteries

The chief one upon my mind of course, is why this has turned out to be such a banner year for crepe myrtles - honestly, for the past month, it seems as if every crepe myrtle tree has been covered in blooms to the exclusion of leaves. Underneath each tree, the ground is covered with the confetti of dried blossoms; pink, lavender, red and white. (Another mystery - has anyone ever bred a crepe myrtle with yellow or blue blossoms? If not, why not?) My neighborhood has quite recovered, thank you, from that bitter, bitter frost in January, which decimated potted plants and tender tropical plants. Just about everything that wasn't actually killed down to the roots has come back with a roar.

Continuing my contemplation of mysteries; the taste of a neighbor who decorated their garden with a huge variety of healthy flowering plants in a collection of containers which have absolutely nothing in common, aesthetically speaking. It is almost as if they hit every nursery and DIY store in town, impulsively buying every plant and pot that caught their eye, without consideration of all the stuff they had bought previously. About the only thing to hold plants that they haven't bought so far is that nadir of low-rent taste, the automobile tire turned inside out, laid on the side, and the top edge cut into zig-zag shapes and gaudily painted. The assortment of pots would be striking of - but the statuary puts it painfully over the top.

Not gnomes, but all those elaborate, sentimental cast-plaster, or concrete statues of Victorian children, sitting on benches, or under umbrellas, or playing with the bunnies and duckies; dozens of them, and the Daughter Unit swears there are more of them, mysteriously appearing every day, as if they were replicating themselves in some revolting fashion, partaking in mysterious rituals performed during the darkest hours of the night. No, the thought of all those statues of creepy children coming alive at night, and throwing off their pinafores and trousers and tormenting the bunnies and ducks with - no, no, no. I'll bet that when they smile, though, they have needle-sharp teeth, like the little gnomes on that planet in Galaxy Quest. During the day, the serried ranks of statuary make it look like a monumental graveyard for hobbits. We don't like to think of what might already be in the backyard, because at some point, the statuary will overflow their yard entirely, and come marching down the road, and then where will we be?

The horrible marching army of statues will have to come by the house with the tree full of wind chimes, the place where they have ripped out the lawn, and covered it all pavers, and raised beds full of native flowering shrubs, whirligigs, painted sheet- metal flowers and crystals on metal poles; all very pleasant on a mild day, but what it must be like during a wind-storm, I shudder to imagine.

Probably no one can hear themselves think, for the clamor of wind chimes, let alone call City Code Compliance to complain: "Hello (bonnn-ggg! Bo-nnnn-g!) Code (Bonnnnnnggggg!) Compliance, how may we (BOOOONNNNNNGGG!) help you? (BONNNNNNNNGGGG!). I'm so sorry, ma'am, (BOOOONNNNNNGGG!) but I can't hear you (BBBBBOOOOONNNNNG!) over the wind chimes!"(BBBBBBOOOOOOOONNNNNNNGGGGGGG!)

I love the look of the wind-chime place, but personally, I'm happy to be living a good distance away. I think it would drive my dogs and cats into nervous breakdowns. I blame global warming. Or global cooling. Or climate change, or Al Gore, or somebody. Maybe even Martha Stewart, whom I am happy to blame for anything.