The World of Grandpa Don

Suzie - Her Two Sides

Suzy - her bright face

In the spring of 2008 Tom and Diane gave me a small plant for the yard. It was a climber, just 15" high at the time and about 8" wide. It was actually three varieties of "Suzie - With Eyes", Orange, yellow and white. The previous year I had placed a trellis behind Anne's two favorite statues  for a Clematis that unfortunately failed to survive the winter.  The orphaned trellis  would provide something which Suzie could adopt and climb, for she was already reaching out. 

The photo, taken in late summer of the same year, testifies to the fact that she is thriving in her new home.

Suzie forms a screen, almost a wall, that separates the patio area from the rest of the garden, delightfully dividing the vicinity by function and form. It also provides a background for the statues of Jesus and Mary, statues that Anne obtained from a young man who lived in the community. Handicapped, and living with his parents, producing and selling them was his way to make his own way in this world while honoring God. 

The dark "eyes" of the flowers are surrounded with a splash of bright color and are like the eyes of angels. If you listen carefully you can almost hear them sing their Gloria's as they give homage and at the same time offer protection to the holy ones they guard. They also smile on those who stop and visit, their glory enhanced by the dense foliage from which they spring.

The flowers attract butterflies that skitter from one to another in random fission. Their wings fan and cool the petals and sometimes they alight for a moment or two to savor the sweetness of life found there.

 Each day, the pattern of color seems to change as new blossoms replace the old, shifting from place to place in ever changing life which mimics human life in its surprises and whimsical progression. This face of Suzie is delightful, a welcome companion as one sits at the patio table in contemplation of the mysteries of life and communes with nature, God, and loved ones, now separated.

But alas, Suzie has another side.

The dark side of Suzie

As in all of nature we often find contrast and yes, surprises, some good and some sinister. Could we expect Suzie to differ in this respect? Indeed not!

She has a dark side, one in which the density of the foliage is like that of a thick jungle, sinister and foreboding It is something to be avoided. Her dark eyes retain the surrounding splash of color which belies the angelic song of her beauteous side and seems to mimic the the call of the Sirens, beckoning all who draw near to disaster. The very arms that enabled her to climb towards the sky are now tentacles which, guided by the sinister eyes reach toward any living thing that passes close.

   Oh, you visitor, do not tarry near, especially at night. To remain too long would invite those searching arms to grasp the unaware, to draw one in, choking the breath out, absorbing and assimilating the life forces of her victim.  She must have sustenance and she is undaunted in her search, as undaunted as she can be remaining rooted to the ground. One wonders, does she roam the garden at night? I would not venture near to satisfy my curiosity when the sun has set and the clouds obscure the light of the moon.

For my part, I will enjoy the bright side of Suzie, but only in the daytime. Even then I avoid her back side which even in mid day, casts an ominous shadow. And even then, her tentacles reach beyond the shade of the dense leaves. I have never seen a bird draw near to her. Not even a bee visits and the butterflies do not approach the dark side. They know her and respect her, giving Suzie a wide berth.

Since Suzie has matured I have not observed the rabbits that have destroyed many of the garden's plants. Have they met their match, lured close by her beguiling eyes and snagged in her diabolical tentacles? It would not surprise me in the least to find a bit of fur adhering to the leaves of her coat.

So, I invite you to come to my garden. Abide a while on the sunny side of Suzie to enjoy her beauty and her blessings. But avoid her dark side. And if you visit and find me absent, pray look carefully for you may find my bent and mangled glasses within her vines. 


Should things transpire as imagined in this story, please do not mourn. I will have become part of the entire being of Suzie and you can be sure that I will have made my way to her sunny side. There I will look on to Anne's beloved statues and beyond to the patio itself. There I will smile upon whoever takes up residence in my place, whether someone sits in solitude, contemplating God and the beauty of the day or, a family group gathered in celebration of life with their laughter and joy.

For life has its duality and it is often that we must pass through a dark side not only to reach the light side, but to better appreciate it and its glory.

Don Plefka


Authored by 
Don Plefka

Articles, Letters, Dreams and Such

Suzie - Her Two Sides

A Fantacy

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