What? Two posts in the same night?
That's right kids. I'm not just excited about Monday. I'm really freaking excited.
I did a rewatch of Bones this last week, and this came pouring out post-The Crack in the Code.
He was suspended.
After three days of repetitious questioning and a week of cars sitting outside his house watching for her to come home, he wasn't going crazy.
He was going absolutely mad.
No job to leave the house for. No family in the house.
He woke up this morning, grabbed a granola bar for breakfast and proceeded to nibble at it for two hours while he stared at a wall from the couch. He only got up when he caught clock in the corner of his gaze and realized it was time for a shift change.
He walked to the window as the second car was pulling up and the overnight car pulled away.
Then he walked back to couch and resumed his staring.
Until he snapped out of it, finally jumping up with a growl, raking his fingers through his hair as his frustration reached its peak. He paced around the downstairs, around the couch, around the island in the kitchen.
And that's when he saw it.
Just a little patch of dirt in their backyard.
He walked to her office and looked around for the binder she'd been keeping all of her research in. He flipped through it until he found the right page and pulled out the information she'd found before walking into the garage to find the shovel.
Stepping into the backyard, staring at the marked patch of dirt, he remembered the start of their debate the month before Christine was born.
"I'm not sure there's enough sunlight to plant it here."
"There's plenty of sunlight, Booth. But I think this spot is too close to the house."
"What? There's plenty of room."
"Not when the tree is 20 years old, much taller and wider than the tree we plant."
"Fine. One large step further into the yard, and how about here?"
"Have you ever seen a tree grow, Booth? We'd end up having to cut branches off of it eventually, when they grow into the side of the house."
"Why are we doing this now, anyway? We can't even plant the tree until this summer."
"Late spring is ideal. I just wanted to consider where to put it. You're the one who came running outside for fear of my shovel wielding."
"You're eight months pregnant, Bones. You shouldn't be digging holes right now."
"I wasn't going to dig deep, Booth. I just wanted to mark the spot where we should dig."
"We can't mark the spot when it's not 47 degrees outside?"
"If you're cold, you can go back inside… don't roll your eyes, Booth. I'm just doing what the instructions say."
"'How to plant a cherry blossom tree.' Well, that's specific."
"There are six simple steps, according to my research. The first step is to find the right location. 'If you're planting in your backyard, make sure that the spot you locate has plenty of sunlight and allows for good drainage.' Once our daughter is here, I may be too distracted to make this decision. This is why I want to do it now."
"I want her to be able to see the cherry blossoms out of her window."
"As do I. But too close to the house could damage the tree."
"We'll deal with that when the time comes, if it ever comes."
"You know, if the tree's too close to the house, eventually, it could be strong enough for her to climb down from her window… Booth, come back!"
"I think here is fine, Bones."
"I'm not even sure you're on our property anymore!"
"There's no need for it to be too close to her window."
"I was joking, Booth."
"When she reaches that age when she wants to sneak out of the house, I don't want to look back on this moment and know I could have done something about it."
"Of course. It's not like she could be smart enough to use the doors. Obviously, we just need to install bars on all the windows."
"You mocking me, now, Bones?"
"No… I would never…"
"How about here?"
"I think there works well… but just mark the spot. The ground's too cold to dig right now. You could hurt your back…"
"But the pregnant lady, totally okay for her to be digging right now."
"I dig for a living, Booth…"
He stood at the spot with the same instructions she was holding that night.
1. Find a location. If you're planting in your backyard, make sure that the spot you locate has plenty of sunlight and allows for good drainage.
They had discussed the location and the access to the sun thoroughly before deciding on the spot that night. But he couldn't recall if they had discussed the drainage. He certainly didn't remember her explaining to him exactly what that would look like.
But if she was okay with this spot, then surely he had considered it. Besides… he wasn't up for reconsidering this spot now. This is exactly where she would find the tree when she came home.
He turned back to the list.
2. Buy a seedling or young cherry blossom plant from your local nursery. Cherry blossoms grow well in zones 9 to 11. If these plantings were produced from your zone, that would make them more suitable for transplanting in your area.
"What the hell's a zone?" he growled, while staring at the spot they had marked beneath him.
Bones would know what a planting zone is, he thought.
He walked away from the hole, headed inside to grab a beer. He stared at the hole through the kitchen window again as he took a long pull from the bottle as he reviewed the list. Zones. PH levels. Plants versus seeds. After a second pull from the bottle, he walked to grab his cell phone from its charger.
"Hey, it's Booth. Any chance you've got some free time today? … No, I haven't learned anything new. I was wondering if I could get your help with a project. I'll send you an address for this nursery in Bethesda, if you can meet me there? … Great… I'll fill you in when you get there," he said while grabbing the instructions and his keys.
Two hours later, Booth and Hodgins had arrived back at the mighty hut with a zone-appropriate baby cherry blossom tree and several bags of the mix Hodgins created to satisfy step four.
4. Add soil mix. Cherry blossoms can tolerate a variety of pH range. Check with your nursery to find what the best pH level for the plant you chose is.
Booth briefly regretted asking Hodgins for help when he started making his own soil mix out of a variety of ingredients on the floor of the nursery, annoying the staff as he made a mess and blocked an aisle. But Booth didn't realize how big the recommended tree for summer plantation would be and it wouldn't have come close to fitting in Brennan's Prius, the only car he had at his disposal since the FBI took his SUV. Hodgins, opting for a truck from his garage at the words "Nursery" was able to help transport the tree, fertilizer and the necessary soils he had chosen for the tree back to Booth's house.
3. Dig a hole about a size and a half of the plant base using a spade or shovel, if you've bought a young cherry blossom plant instead of a seed. Loosen the roots very gently before placing inside the hole. Make sure that you don't dig the hole too deep so that the trunk will be exposed. Allow for about three inches of the soil base to rise above the soil.
Booth held the tree by the trunk as Hodgins worked the roots into the ground.
"Are you massaging the roots, Hodgins?"
"The tree is young and tender. I just want to give it its best start in this ground," Hodgins defended as he gently detangled the roots from the dirt they were packed in. After another six minutes of brushing and what Booth had taken to defining as 'caressing' the roots, he started kicking the surrounding dirt into the hole that contained both the tree and an entomologist with one foot, leaning on the tree to keep him balanced on the other.
"Alright, alright, I can take a hint," Hodgins grumbled, shaking off the dirt Booth had kicked at him. They both worked to pack Hodgins' soil mixture into the hole to hold the tree up.
5. Water and let it drain well before adding additional water.
Booth grabbed a couple of beers while Hodgins began watering the tree, bringing one out to him in thanks. Hodgins instructed Booth on the frequency he needed to water the tree. And then, it grew silent. Angela. Michael. Work at the lab. Plenty of things Hodgins' didn't think Booth would want to hear about since he was missing Brennan, Christine and their work. Mentally, Hodgins finally settled on baseball.
But still, Booth could only manage brief responses.
"You know, according to the Buddhist tradition, the cherry blossom tree, which blooms briefly once a year, symbolizes the transient nature of life. Because the flowers last for at most a few weeks, then the tree changes again. And again. And again. Their point being that everything is life is short-term. Temporary. It's a good lesson for life, in my book. The good things, the bad things… they never last forever. "
And with that, Hodgins took the last sip of his beer and said his goodbyes. Despite the agent's lack of social grace as of late, he left with Booth's sincere thanks for the help.
Booth went back into the house and checked the clock again, sad that this project had only managed to distract him for half of the day. He checked the window at the next shift change. He made dinner. He put a baseball game on the television and returned to staring at the wall.
He was still in the same spot when he woke up the next morning. And he looked at the clock. Checked the window. Scrounged for breakfast only to realize he had eaten the last of the granola bars and was out of cereal and oatmeal and eggs and it was probably time for a trip to the grocery store. He grabbed the nearest piece of paper to work on a list, but stopped short of writing on it when he saw it was the list of tree planting instructions.
He reread the page and sighed as he reviewed the last step again. The tree may have been planted and watered, but the project wasn't done yet.
6. Enjoy your brilliant, beautiful cherry blossoms!
Because enjoying the tree would be impossible until his girls were home.
He walked back to her office and put the slightly worn page of instructions back in the book. Then he flipped to a new tab, with new instructions for the next project on her list.
At least building a state-of-the-art tree house laboratory should take him more than a day.
Mmmm… I like it when Hodgins is wise. I just plain do. :) We'll see how tonight and tomorrow goes, but I may get two more stories posted before premiere night! How excited are you for Season 8?!