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Yuck-a

YuccaGlauca - Soapweed“Do you know what those are?” I asked my Indiana neighbor, leaning on her fence and pointing to the two-feet-tall, spike-leafed plants flanking her sidewalk.

She shook her head. “No, but they’re pretty.” She continued, frowning. “I’ve been pampering them for ten years. I’ve moved them to different places in the yard, but they just don’t seem to thrive anywhere.”

She looked even more puzzled when I laughed out loud. She didn’t know that I had tried desperately to eradicate yucca plants from my Colorado yard a year earlier with no success. Those crazy-cousins-to-a-cactus weren’t going to beat me.

My husband’s job had moved us from Indiana to Colorado. I went reluctantly, missing my family, friends, and deciduous forests while struggling to love the dry, brown mountainous plains and foothills.

I had tried to coax midwestern flowers out of the rocky soil, while the yuccas grew wild in the yard and threatened bare feet with their razor edges. They grew where nothing else would, and one untended hillside was completely taken over by the yuccas.

That first summer, I had tried everything to kill the yucca plants, from digging the established yucca plants out with a shovel to pouring weed killer on them full strength. My next door neighbor, an Ohio native, watched me struggle. He admitted, grinning, “I did the same thing when we moved out here twenty years ago, but eventually, I gave in. You will too.”

“I won’t. I will win.” I defiantly ground my heal into another yucca pushing up through the packed earth. He turned around and walked away, whistling.

Two years later, when my husband announced that we were moving back to the Midwest, I sighed with satisfaction. I hated to admit defeat, but I had grown weary of battling those enemies of the lush green lawn and colorful flower beds. “I will never own a home with a yucca plant in the yard,” I proudly declared. They would be on my turf, and I would win.

Time changes us. Battles soften us. And upon moving into our Indiana home, I discovered two spike-leafed yucca plants slyly tucked into the back of the landscape among the ivy, peonies, and lilacs. We have made our peace, the yuccas and me. Maybe I missed my Indiana home while living in Colorado, but these yuccas remind me of the mountain views, deer grazing in the dawn hours, and black foxes echoing in the twilight.

02 comments

writer

Daily, the power of stories amazes me–moves me, shapes me–an ordinary wife, mom, teacher, writer, Jesus-follower.

2 Comments

Laura Harris

Many of my dear friends just moved to plant a church in Denver. Hearing your description of the landscape, the animals and even the smell of the mountain air make me feel like I’m there with my friends again. Also, I didn’t know you guys moved. It was neat hearing your take on the experience.

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jaynewalters

We lived in the Denver area for three years, and despite my blog post, I loved it! We moved back to Indiana, and to Fort Wayne, a couple of years before I met you!

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