In search of story


Tobasco Road

It has been fiercely hot and humid here, with wind. A hot humid wind does nothing for my cowlicks, and working in a hot humid garden does nothing for my otherwise aristocratic bearing. Picture then, dear reader, a woman of a certain age (me), with a certain wilted, windblown and grimy aspect, sprinkling hot sauce and red pepper flakes over her front garden in the soft twilight of late May.

And what makes me risk the anxious whispers of my neighbors, who may well fear the weird sweaty old lady crouching down in her front garden with hot sauce?

Rabbits. Of course.

In the front, the lawn is treated and therefore — apparently — not yummy. So they go right for the flowers. I have watched the lilies in the front rise up and crown themselves with Pompadour buds only to see them reduced to naked forlorn stems the next morning, shamed in the dawn light. I have caught the cottontailed rotter trying to look innocent with an entire columbine blossom protruding from his mouth, temporarily stilled as he reflected on our relative sizes. Beast.

In the back, I grow edibles, so that grass is never treated and apparently IS yummy. I had not foreseen yumminess. Understand I would gladly provide lemon vinaigrette if all they wanted was the clover and other grassy savories. But they gluttonize their way to the garden, and then their noses pick up the siren scents of dill and dianthus. It is quite literally a short hop from delicious grass to scrumptious garden.

The dianthus was a white Edwardian frill with a garnet center. Gone. The dill my old-timey gossip. My lilies the Chartres of the landscape. Gone, gone.

Be warned, rabbits: the sweaty old lady with the hot sauce is not amused.