Kickass, the doorstop dog, says that since the keeper read that a garden, with its promise of renewal and succession, can be a powerful antidote to the brutal truth of mortality, particularly in these coronavirus days, he and Phyllis have taken to visiting the sprawling flower and vegetable garden at the UW’s experimental facility on Madison’s west side. It is magnificent—endless beds of blossoming flowers of all kinds, vegetable plots, various grasses and interesting trees, and all of it with identifying labels. .
As an avid former master gardener, Phyllis fills in some of the keeper’s vast botanic blanks, and the two of them pause on one of the shaded benches to soak up the brilliant colorful messages shouted at them from all directions.
The messages have to do with the promise of renewal, and they transcend the facts of aging in a way that leaves the keeper and Phyllis thinking that though they may be “old” flowers, long past the blossoming stage, they are still here and still part of the great timeless garden.
That, Kickass says, is all that really counts.