I’m okay to fail completely

Yesterday closed with the rain gauge at almost exactly 4″. The culvert pipe that drains our main pond was maxed out, alternately underwater or with just its tip top showing, and making strange sucking sounds, vibrating the ground as it took the water down through the earth of the dam and shot it out with wonderful strength and ferocity into the creek below, across the area we call “flat rock”.

All through the day I was in and out between showers grafting pawpaws until I became too soaked then coming inside and drying my clothes until the rain let up only to have the process repeated. Four times I dried my clothes like that. I finished half the grafts I’d wanted to but the time that I was in the woods and wetland was enjoyable.

Along a path in the wetland and just at eye level a robin had laid four beautiful eggs. She expressed some concern as I worked nearby her nest grafting Rebecca’s gold, then Sweet Alice, and NC 1. Then, perhaps used to me or seeing that I was only interested in and huddled over these small trees, she’d settled back onto her nest and I continued grafting: Prolific, Taytwo and Overlease.

I worked along the woods with bundles of the same cultivars, lining the loop path that we call “the log road” with grafts. The boys came out and pulled hog peanuts (Amphicarpaea bracteata) and peeled and ate them, some the size of lima beans.

I’ll have to finish grafting pawpaws through the week and after coming home from work. I have bundles of cultivars from KSU to graft as well. Then I will be nearly caught up with grafting, in time to move on to persimmons and after persimmons will be pecans, hickories and walnuts. By that time my successes with the knife will have begun to show themselves. Even now, a few of the goumi, mulberry and plum that I grafted a week or 10 days ago have begun to swell and wake up under the parafilm.

We take these cultivars, some that we’ve never tasted, and set them through surgery on trees not knowing if there will be success or failure. “Take”, as they call success when the scion wood starts to grow and connect with the rootstock, always seems like a miracle. Always amazing and mysterious. There are many conditions that determine failure or success but I try to wrap them tight with the parafilm, get as much cambium to cambium contact as possible. I suppose the part that makes it enjoyable, that contributes to the amazing mystery, is being prepared for both success and failure. Even total failure. This makes every success a very wonderful thing.

At the end of the day, the kids played in the roaring waters at flat rock, jumping off the giant rock into the raging torrent blasting at them. I remember the excitement of such spring floods and the creeks that I played in at their age. Better than many other things, I remember the creeks. Perhaps they soaked into my DNA. Perhaps this creek here soaks into theirs. More mysterious than grafting I tell you.


3 thoughts on “I’m okay to fail completely”

  1. There is no doubt, zero doubt, that creeks can drain in one’s DNA. Unfortunately, so too can wars, cheating, and Trump towers. Moral: “Get thee to a creek.”

  2. Roaring waters soaking into DNA! Yes. ❤
    Your writing made me think of how I had to be tossed into high desert in order to appreciate how much we are water. 🙂 Most of what I recall from my childhood is that too, the ponds and frogs and the white storks hunting the wetlands, the roaring raging sea, the fast flowing rivers, the rain and fast storms, and never drying puddles, and fog. You guys must get about 40 in of annual rainfall? Probably nice for those new scions to get soaked and for all the pawpaw later on. We get 16 inch total, half of which falls in monsoon season July-August, and the other half in winter months, other times – dry as bone, still creeks are flowing, no roaring or groundshaking, just a gentle rumbling bubble.
    I never heard of hog's peanut before, interesting plant. Saw that Pawnee peoples used to wait till rats get them and then gather the peanuts from rat's nests.

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