There is a honeysuckle vine that grows from the garden alongside my porch up a trellis and on to the deck outside the bedroom window. Like all vines this honeysuckle sends out shoots that reach for the next support on which to extend its existence. It’s voracious and parasitic and grows really fast. The only thing more frightening than this plant is the huge bunny that I’m sure is living inside of it. More on that later.
The bulk of this plant, this honeysuckle, is a jumble of leaves and branches that make up a huge thicket that is taking over the deck like an encroaching civilization in the New World. A trumpet vine grows alongside the honeysuckle and adds to the jumble. It’s a totally integrated, politically-correct, diversity-sensitive community. On the edges of this mass is where the honeysuckle sends out its shoots that relentlessly seek rails and posts and sills, anything to encroach upon.
In the morning after a rainy or just plain humid night, the cool air forms droplets on the underside of the honeysuckle’s overreaching shoots. On these overcast and misty days, the droplets remain for most of the morning, catching what little sun is available and magnifying it to electric proportions. There are ten or so of these shoots and the effect is dazzling, almost gaudy, in a Broadway sense.
The metaphor is appropriate because inside the jumble is a world of dramatic life. A soap opera of bugs, spiders, caterpillars, and small birds at love and war. I believe there’s a rabbit living in there too. A few months ago the cat caught a baby bunny and neglected to dispatch it. He was probably saving it for me to do the dirty because he knows I like my baby bunnies as fresh as possible. Very thoughtful of him. Being a little slow on the uptake, however, I allowed the little bugger to escape to the thicket in the corner of the deck where the honeysuckle and trumpet were just then establishing outposts. The cat lost what little respect he had for me at that point and slunk away, the way cats do, with a disgusted look on his face. I never saw the bunny leave the thicket and I believe it’s survived there these past few weeks on honeysuckle nectar. I’m sure it’s disgustingly fat by now. It could probably safely leave, but why would it, what with the unending supply of nectar from the honesuckle blossoms. And you know how bunnies are: fat and lazy. And you know they’re mean when they get fat like that. You saw Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Aren’t I mad at myself now for not dispatching that monster when I had the chance. I can’t possibly get near the thicket now to trim it because, you know, there’s that, that rabbit!
So I guess I’ll just need to leave the trimming for a later time. When it’s safe.
At any rate, the material for a Broadway tragedy and/or comedy, or Hollywood swashbuckler for that matter, is developing in the honeysuckle hive just outside my bedroom. Scandals and death of insect proportions, ponzi schemes and terrorism on a natural scale. It’s all there in this microcosm ruled by Bugsy.
While the tragedy unfolds in the jumble, I stay in bed and watch the water beads on the vines. I need to witness the exact moment when they disappear. It’s important to document that sort of thing. If I don’t do it, who will? Who else has access? (or the lack of ambition to do anything else?) I’m the one with the window and the thicket and the honeysuckle. It is my duty to stay and watch. It takes a long time. Watching water dry might seem like a pointless waste of time, but really it’s quite beautiful. And what else is Sunday morning for but to experience beauty in its rarest form? It’s also pretty cheap entertainment. When you get to be my age it doesn’t take much.
Here’s to life on the edge. Of the thicket that is.