I only met Allison twice.
Both times were for wedding parties of a long forgotten friend. We were only truly friends on social media, as I was intrigued with her lifestyle.
She was a musical prodigy. She played in all the major concert halls around the world, coupled with the most in vogue posts from various locales. Allison eventually met a guy, who was just as gifted as she was in academia. They married and traveled the world together.
They moved to a major far away university – they both taught there. Eventually they had 2 kids and lived the American dream. They always smiled in their pictures. They looked so happy.
I randomly saw a lengthy post from her on my newsfeed. She announced her separation (which happened 6 months earlier) from her husband and subsequent divorce proceedings.
I was shocked.
How could a couple, who was so well put together – on multiple levels – not make it? I have no idea what caused their marriage to unravel. Allison did not offer up those details, as she mentioned nothing of counseling or anything to resuscitate their marriage. It was just “he moved out” and “sign here, here, and here.”
Nonetheless, being the classy lady that she is, Allison painted this picture in a positive light, how they’d still co-parent and how she was moving forward with her life. She ended the post with this quote, which struck a chord with me:
“Some loves are perennials – they survive the winter and bloom again. Some are annuals – beautiful and lush and full for a season and then back to the Earth to create richer soil for new life to grow. The eventual result of both types of plants is New Life.” (Glenn Doyle Melton)
It’s been awhile since I’ve read a quote this elegant in its simplicity. I’ve had several “annual” relationships; I’d never quite viewed them as compost, although that’s exactly what they were. The ambrosial love I experienced, the leafy and flourishing connection, eventually began to wilt: whether it was a end of a life cycle, a disease, or a lack of nutrients, it died. I mourned long and hard for each of them. I grew accustomed to casting aside the rotting matter: what use was it now? With both age and time, I can see those relationships were only creating a nourishment for what I would call my now perennial relationship. After 10 years, we’ve grown in maturity while weathering the floods, droughts, shifting soils, long winters, breezy summer nights, and sunny days; they are all recorded in our thick green leaves. The nutrients derived from our past enriched us.
I’m never going to look at a plant – or a relationship – in quite the same light ever again.
And as for Allison, I hope she finds her perennial garden.