13.2.18

The Song of the Jessamine

There is a jasmine hedge along my shared driveway which sings to me quietly every time I go past. It mingles with another kind of hedge that blossoms tiny, shy purple flowers ensconced in green wings; I do not know that they are. Half a dozen young trees rise behind the hedge, and altogether they gently shelter the kindergarten that owns them.





I have gathered flowers from the hedgerow for three years. Four years? Has it been that long? I have stood beneath it with my best friend, both of us laughing and dreamily sighing, as a sudden hailstorm pelted down. Every day I pass the hedgerow with its companion trees and think, at least I have them. In this neighbourhood where trees are slaughtered frequently, at least I have my sweet hedge.

Today they ripped it down.





I know there are many villains in the climate change story. Right now, I'm pointing my finger at the middle class. Those people who have just enough resources to try to get themselves more. They can pay the landscaper to cut down trees for the fancy patio with a barbecue they saw on tv and had to have because there's this hole in their heart they can't explain and perhaps a barbecue will fill it. If you think I'm being unkind, let me tell you what I found when I searched pinterest for "jasmine flower art" (pinterest being mostly patronised by the middle class). I found cartoons of a Disney princess and all the related memorabilia that you can buy. I found mostly photos of roses because apparently few people know what jasmine actually is. I found jasmine room perfumes, jasmine wedding decorations, jasmine body scrub. Only finally, far down one page, did I find art of jasmine flowers - all of it vintage.

The landscaper who was digging up tree roots as I went past stared at the look of horror and grief on my face and probably couldn't comprehend me at all. But yesterday I read yet again of how little hope our species has left, as well as those we are taking down with us, because of our materialistic greed. Perhaps the kindergarten is making way for a luxurious herbal garden. Somehow, I doubt it. And it's so much the worse because this is a place for children, and yet the small amount nature that surrounded them has been destroyed over and again. They will not learn from kindergarten how to identify jasmine flowers, be gentled by their scent, make fairy crowns from them, hear their soft soul-song. How can we hope that their generation will save the world?


16 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry. This is heartbreaking.

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  2. oh. oh. i am sorry. for you, for the jasmine and the trees, for the children. maybe for all of us.

    what a pointless loss. i can only say again, sorry.

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  3. I love jasmine, such a lovely scent. It flowered this time of year in California, when I lived there. It will not grow here with a serious winter wonderland. Maybe that is why some people do not know it.

    I am sorry for your loss.

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  4. This makes me so sad. I fell in love with jasmine while living in California. It's the most beautiful scent I know. How could someone want to destroy that? I really don't get it. It reminds me of the large, gorgeous lilac bush that they dug up outside my apartment in Norway. I felt such grief over it being gone. I never got to know why it had to be killed.

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  5. Oh I know so well how much this hurts! I live in the city, in a gentrifying neighborhood, and I'm sickened over and over again by the ripping out of beautiful trees, shrubs, hedges to make way for sterile concrete slabs with plastic lawn furniture or piles of chemical-laden bark dust with a few ugly, over-sculpted arborvitae shrubs. It's heartbreaking and it's everywhere we look. Sending you comforting vibes through the ether.

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    1. Yes I'm with you Michelle, my thoughts also.

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  6. Once again, I so wish I could send you, a bush, a tree, a shrub... We have so many, an abundance of riches we do not deserve...
    I am so sorry, Sarah xx

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  7. Thank you so much everyone, your comments truly warm my heart.

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  8. I have no words...I know there are trees being planted around the world and more and more people waking up to our relationship with plants of all kinds...but it doesn't seem to balance out the losses. And we need to do more than find balance. It's a heavy time and my heart is with yours. xo

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  9. Ugh, even I felt that punch to the solar plexus at the awful destruction of a beautiful, living green creature, along with the life it supported. It must be doubly difficult when/if you do not have your own patch to tend to and make flourish. I am sorry for your loss and that of the little ones.

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  10. Sarah, I am sorry you lost your hedge. Can you grow another one on your property? Seems like it would have been better to move it, even if that would be possible. Maybe they had to tear it down, like you said, for a reason.

    Is Jessamine the original spelling? I have only seen it as Jasmine.

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    1. Sandi, I'm so sorry, your comments don't come through to my email notifications, it's quite inexplicable! Yes jessamine is an old spelling for jasmine :-)

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