I am not a morning person. But I have dogs, so even on weekends I am up by seven or so in order to take them out. Often, I am still wearing pajamas when I leash up the pups, so I sneak off the front porch to the side of house where the neighbors can’t see us. There we find an enormous tangle of bright fuchsia morning glories that are wide awake.
Each year, this cheerful crowd reseeds itself and multiplies like proverbial rabbits. I have nothing to do with it, which is part of why I love them. These flowers, with their delicate trumpeting blossoms, reemerge heartily after even the worst winters to proliferate along the path that runs from the porch to the back yard.
Tiny green double-leaved sprouts emerge slowly in the spring, trembling in the chilly breeze, seeming timid, but really just gearing up. The plants grow courageous with each day’s increasing sunlight, rapidly adding a multitude of leaves and blooms along their tentacle-like vines.
Soon they need a trellis for support, and then they overshoot that, grabbing onto the brick wall of the house with their small green hands. One long stem moves sideways to the wooden steps and uses the slightest splinters to anchor itself. In no time, it has reached the top of the stairs. Other vines have, almost parasitically, taken over the basil plants. Initially, I trained them away, carefully unwinding their strands, but they were more driven than me. Now the herbs look like drag queens in their heavy pink fineries.
Even the rose is sporting incongruous flowers, a vine having woven its way around and around and around the tallest stem, the thorns causing no disruption whatsoever as it climbed. The tomato has fought bravely against this clingy friend, but to no avail. He is smothered in unwanted, albeit cheerful, attention.
This year, a morning glory seed managed to find its way past the house and into the street, where it landed in the storm drain. Embedding itself in a mess of fallen leaves, it found enough nourishment and moisture to throw a coiling vine over the curb like a lifeline and present its happy blushing faces to the side-walkers.
Each afternoon, the petals close in on themselves, suddenly shy, twisting themselves into snug cocoons, ready for the same nap I am. Overnight, they regain energy and, at dawn, each magenta mouth shouts again toward the sun.