Our back-door Luck Bush is doing her ruby-red thing right now, turning in her Summer-green gown for a red-velvety number which could grace any number of Fall parties---especially the one being thrown all over the neighborhood about now.
Luck Bush was one of the few plants, other than a mighty stand of trees, which came with the house---the former owners did not care for ornament of any kind---indeed, I marveled that the real estate preparers had made the house so spic and span, with not even ONE nail-hole in the walls. And then I found that the lady of the house did not like ANYTHING on walls or tabletops---such mess made her nervous, even when she came to our open house after we bought it and put up things and put out things (a fraction of what holds sway today, with our cluttery rooms and well-filled walls and all our propensities for just setting things DOWN and leaving them there---a glimpse of the NOW would probably send her into a swoon).
But when I started digging in the bare (especially for end of Summer) flowerbeds, about an inch under the soil, I found miles of heavy black netty stuff, guaranteed to discourage and destroy any plant life trying to push through---we’re still trying to rip it all out, or at least make holes to accommodate the hostas and other plants.
But the Luck Bush was a good-sized something-or-other, prized by her rarity in this sparse yard. She triumphed by sheer will, I think, for her limbs seem to grow lusher and longer overnight, and have to be pruned mercilessly during the season, to avoid her grabbing at passersby and scratching car varnish.
Bush turns reddish in Fall, and was seized upon as a passable “flower” by our Gracie when she was very small and living with us for so long. Whenever anyone, family or guest, headed for a vehicle to leave, she’d run for the bush, grabbing a leaf and handing it in through the window. And now Chris still has an ever-crisping pile of little Luck Leaves wisping their way into crumbs in the console and ashtray, for Sweetpea took up the torch and keeps him supplied with one per exit, every day that she’s here. And we hand her one, as she leaves us in the afternoon.
The sitting-room windows are shaded in green in Spring and Summer, hazing into a rosy glow as the Autumn changes come. The changing shade and the carrying on of a sweet little tradition---handing out Good Luck and Traveling Grace in the form of greenery or reddery from grubby little hands---those are family things, our own things, which make this Home. And every time a Luck Leaf goes into a departing hand, my heart goes with it.