Thursday, July 5, 2007

the volunteers

At the edge of our field under a maple tree, we found two stray digitalis, or foxglove. Tall white spires with red speckles on the inside of the flower. We've tried to grow foxglove in our garden in the past, and for a couple of years, we had great luck with them nestled tight between the Therese Bugnet roses and the orange lilies that we transplated from the roadside. Then, they disappeared. It's as if the two foxglove that we once had volunteered to move elsewhere, got up and walked across the field to this shadier bed.

On Tuesday evening, the sun slanting across the grassy meadow, we walked down our dirt road with a shovel and a pail down to the far side of our property where a brook runs in the spring. We dug out the foxgloves gingerly, with only a little remorse for wanting to move them from this surprise location. For half a minute, we wondered if we should leave them here so pretty at the far entrance to the meadow. No, we reasoned, they would only get lost in the treeline here, and would be much better admired in the garden. Once we were resolved, we walked them back down to the house, planting them in the garden near the German rose, the orange lilies, and the now spent bearded iris. We contemplated their name, foxglove, and could imagine the inspiration perfectly. The petals of the flower do look like slender little white gloves fit for a fox's paws hung out to dry on the tall green stalk of the plant. How can we not imagine them gracing the fleet-footed foxes that cross the road after midnight on our drive home from the restaurant? Perhaps, our foxgloves did not volunteer to move at all, but in fact, belong to the local den of red fox who found a preferable spot for their floral laundry.

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