Archives for category: gardening

I’m sipping coffee on a gray Saturday. I enjoyed the first rain shower since moving, and delighted in the tickling spatter of summer rain drops in the morning chill. I sat down to write… but didn’t. I got distracted by the flowers of spring-to-come that aren’t yet planted in a landscape that isn’t yet supported by a clear vision. It is what it is; I enjoy flowers. 🙂

Other gardens, other flowers.

I’m not yet sure what I want of our wee front yard and garden space. Something like a cottage garden, I think, maybe…

Sometimes the simplest things bring great joy.

…or perhaps grand flowers in bold colors and formal borders…?

Plans are best supported with some sort of coherent vision… a direction to go…

Regardless of the eventual outcome of however many weeks and weekends of daydreaming and thought go into the eventual plan that puts me on the (garden) path to that future reality, there are choices involved. There is effort to be made. There is work, and care, and craft, and problem-solving. There will be, too, lovely moments to enjoy flowers, along the way. That’s sort of the point. 🙂

Those lovely moments… aren’t they nearly always “sort of the point”… of all of this thing we call living life? I mean… sure, we’ve all got problems, challenges, conflict, confusion… things to sort out, and things to resolve. That’s just real. I’m not at all convinced any of that amounts to “the point” of all of this fuss and bother that is “life”. Personally? I think it is “about” the moments, the joys, the collection of experiences that become our treasured memories, the relationships we build and share with other traveler’s along the way…

…And the flowers.

So, I’ve got some thoughts, and a wish list or two… and a day dream. With patience, it’ll become a vision, then a plan, then a course of action – a path. It seems so simple in the abstract. Life is about that, too; the complex and the simple, and how often they are the same thing, viewed differently, and how often a clear path changes the journey.

…My Traveling Partner comes in and more or less “takes over” this moment, and my writing, to make some useful changes to my workstation. 🙂 I think it’s time to begin again.

I’m sipping my coffee slowly. It’s still quite hot, and I’m not quite awake, yet. The alarm jerked me from a deep sleep with its incessant beeping, and I’m very groggy, and the tiniest bit annoyed. I definitely could have slept longer. My Traveling Partner is already awake, himself. I assume he is excited about the arrival of a package he’s been waiting on, but I didn’t actually ask. (Those first minutes, before either of us is fully awake, are generally a poor choice for conversation.) I make him coffee, and return to my studio. I catch myself smiling as I sit down to my desk. Love matters. 🙂

Yesterday was a pleasant productive work day that finished with a headache. Self-care really matters. I’d fallen short of how much water I needed to be drinking on a hot day, and I think I only had 1 cup of coffee, instead of my reliable 2 cups. That’d do it. Pollen count was also super high yesterday, and apparently “allergies” are a thing I may have, after all. lol “Get out of the city, they said…” 😉

Trees and sky… and pollen?

It’s definitely summer now, in this time of pandemic. People move around the community more. There are small very selective gatherings of people who feel safe with each other occurring here and there in the community, and in my neighborhood. Stores are open, but not crowded, and mask-wearing is not stigmatized (or avoided) in this community (which I appreciate). Small changes are evident everywhere – and not just the masks. The historic downtown area is closed to cars, to allow restaurants to extend their dining space onto the sidewalks and into the street. Social distancing. The entrance to many retailers has a prominent mask and hand sanitizer station (“If you forgot yours – take one of ours!”). Some businesses mark the floor with a “shopping flow” pattern and ask that customers follow that (Ikea-style) from entrance through check-out. Take-out, delivery, and curbside pick-up are super popular options these days. The way I plan errands has changed; I count on those curbside pick-up options, often, and that means planning the time those can take. We still avoid going out, generally. It’s too easy not to go out. Super easy to stay home. 🙂

Small details here at home change, too, as we move in, and get settled. It’s less a disruption than it is a refinement of lifestyle, over time. Yesterday, my Traveling Partner put a shade over the hot tub to keep me from getting sun burned. Small details. I was prepared to find myself much less resilient than I’ve been. It’s a pleasant observation to be able to make. Growth over time. We become what we practice. 🙂 I think about that for a few minutes, in the context of less-than-ideal practices (and characteristics), and sip my coffee while I reflect on becoming the woman I most want to be.

…I remember the new sprinkler my Traveling Partner got for me (I ran over the last one, quite by mistake, backing out of the garage), and I recall the day is expected to be quite hot. It seems a good time to water the lawn… and begin again. 🙂

I am relaxing on a summery afternoon, sipping blackberry flavored fizzy water. I check the label. “Natural flavors”. Sure, okay, but… it doesn’t really taste like blackberries. I mean… it wants to. It fails. Real blackberries have a certain something to their flavor that must be very difficult to capture, preserve, or duplicate. I search my recollection for any commercial product at all that really tastes like blackberries. I don’t think of one. I let it go. Life has a few mysteries, perhaps this is one? Regardless of the lack of real blackberry flavor, the fizzy water is cool and refreshing, and not so much fizz as to feel sharp or unpleasant on my tongue. I sit with the experience a little while. It’s enough to enjoy the pleasant moment on a warm spring afternoon.

I listen to the traffic on the busy street at the end of the driveway of this rented duplex. The paperwork is done. The appointment to sign this and that is set for a day next week. The weekend ahead feel relaxed, and purposeful. I smile at the moving boxes, and look over my “to do list”. I won’t miss the traffic, the busy street, or the noisy neighborhood.

I don’t have to miss the roses; my container garden will move with us. 🙂

I take a moment for fond appreciation of the human being that is my Traveling Partner. He’s done much to make this move organized, and comfortable. He knows how much moving disrupts the routines that support my day-to-day emotional wellness and preserve the general appearance that I adult skillfully. It’s not that I don’t, I guess generally I do, these days. It’s nice to have some help with the busy-ness and clutter of life, though. He makes a point of reminding me that now is time to finish up the packing and organizing. For a couple week’s he’s been tenderly reminding me to take a breath, and slow things down. Timing matters. He gets that for me it matters a great deal, and doesn’t tease me over it. (Well, maybe a little…) He’s considerate and caring, and the moments when we frustrate each other have been few. This is certainly an easier, more emotionally comfortable, move for me, of all the moves I’ve made since… yeah. Since ever, I guess. I don’t have a recollection of a move that has been more organized, settled, or joyful. It’s pleasant. Like this blackberry fizzy water; it doesn’t need to be explained or solved. I remind myself to enjoy the experience, and sit quietly with my gratitude, for a bit longer.

The titular moment I’m waiting for is that moment ahead. The one with the signing? No. The one with the house keys. The one when I park my car in my driveway – our driveway – for the very first time. Home.

Home

…There’s a new garden to plan. Roses. Dahlias. Maybe jasmine and honeysuckle, too. Herbs in pots, and summer veggies in raised beds… I feel happy tears well up, and a smile so big it makes my face hurt.

My sigh fills the room. The sound of contentment. Another glance at my list of packing tasks I plan to tackle this weekend. Another sigh. Less contented, more resigned. I’m reminded briefly of the work involved, by the physical pain I am in. I shrug it off, unconcerned about that. The work involved is worth overcoming or enduring it. It’s a very human experience. Fucking hell, I’m so glad I’m not doing this move alone, or having to impose on friends, or hire strangers. This move feels intimate, connected, and shared, in a different way. I think back on other moves – was I adequately grateful, and did I say so, all those times I’ve imposed on friends for help, when I moved? Maybe not… I haven’t always been the woman I am… hell, even now, it’s often a solid real-time effort to be the woman I most want to be… a very human experience, indeed. I add “say thank yous for past moves” to my list of things to do. Dear friends have sometimes traveled great distances just to help me move. I am beyond fortunate.

…I remind myself to spend a day writing letters to friends and family from the new address, once we’re moved in. I took a handful of days off to do the move – more to give myself a chance to get used to the new space, new routines, new sounds and new shadows, than anything to do with unpacking boxes. I’ve learned a few things about caring for this fragile vessel over the past decade. There will certainly be time to write a few letters. 🙂

I listen to the birdsong and the breeze, and wonder what songs the birds will be singing (or, more accurately, what sorts of birds will be singing their songs) from the new deck, looking out into a different wood. I think about the walks I will take on new trails. I think about what the change in perspective may mean for my journey. I remind myself, as I have so often before, to “stay on the path”.

Seems to be very effective so far… probably doesn’t hurt that the path is mine, and that I choose it myself.

Maybe it’s not too late in the day, on a Friday, for another cup of coffee…? Certainly, it is not too soon to begin again. 🙂

It’s a lovely drizzly Saturday in the Pacific Northwest. I ventured out for a walk along the bank of the Columbia, this morning. Lovely. First decently long walk at 57 years of age.

I’ve walked this path before, but may never walk it again. Somehow that makes the journey feel significant. 🙂

My birthday was yesterday. 57. Not a “fancy” sort of birthday, and it didn’t need to be at all. It was quite special without a lot of frills or elaborate plans. It was warm and intimate and joyful. I hung out at home with my Traveling Partner, who made his schedule work out specifically to be home with me to share the day. We talked about the upcoming move… Different community. Different views from new windows. Different view from a different deck. Different walks to be taken, down unexplored paths and unfamiliar streets. In 14 days we get the keys to a different house, we move to a different address. 🙂 I’m more excited than anxious, more eager than fretful. This is a change I’m delighted to embrace. A new home. Our home. At long last, a place that is truly ours (mortgage and all). It’s very exciting, and very busy. 🙂

…So much paperwork…

I look over my “to do list” for the weekend. I’ve committed to packing up the studio this weekend, and preparing the container garden on the deck for one more move. I’ve moved, now, 3 times in 5 years. 5 times in 9 years. Too much moving. lol. This move, coming up, though, amounts to “a promise kept” – to myself. I won’t need to move again for a long while, maybe not ever (although, change is, and one never knows where life’s path may lead). I hear my Traveling Partner’s voice in the other room, playing a video game online with his son. I smile. I enjoy the sound of his voice. I feel wrapped in love, and the promise of a shared future, together, feels safe and warm and full of fond conversation, affectionate teasing, and shared moments.

I think of the cynical 14-year-old young woman I once was and shake my head with a sad, tender, forgiving smile; she knew nothing of love, and could not have fathomed this feeling – or this moment. Her life was mostly about pain, and survival, and her bitter resentment was only exceeded by her impotent rage. There was little room for love to find a foothold in her wounded heart. I find myself wishing I could have “been there for her” then, as the woman I have become, now… She could have used some compassion, and empathy, some real concern, some reliable emotional support… from the woman staring back at her from her mirror. I’m still smiling; we enjoy this moment together. I’ve come a long fucking way from 14…

…57 feels very different indeed.

The shoreline has been lost to recent rains. Change is.

I walked along what was left of the riverbank. Most of the soft sandy beaches are lost to high water, after weeks of rain. I’m okay with that. Water levels rise and fall. Seasons change. Flowers bloom, then fade away. I walk, with my camera and my thoughts, enjoying a view I may never see quite this way again. I ponder how often that’s true, and I think about change.

I see blackberries blooming and think about the summer fruit that will result.

I smell the wild roses blooming on the bank, and wonder for a moment specifically which species they are, and whether they are native flora, or later arrivals, brought by travelers.

I sit for a few minutes on a damp log at the top of the bank, watching a passing barge.

I took time for me, to breathe, to reflect, to consider changes to come, and the relative value of preparedness (in moving, and in life). Nothing complicated, although there were verbs involved (and choices). Safely home once more, showered, and dressed in soft comfy clothes, I sit smiling with my thoughts and pictures. It’s enough. 🙂

 

Small changes add up to big changes, over time. Some of the small changes I made are a goodness, and result in improved quality of life. Some of the small changes I make are less so, and create potentially problematic circumstances – sometimes entirely foreseeable conflict results. Humans being human. Some of the small changes that are made around me manage to also improve my circumstances. Some, though, are a bother. It is what it is. Not all the small changes are mine to make, or made by me. Not all the small changes that occur are even about me.

I sip my coffee and think about changes.

This morning, there are three less aquarium fish in my tanks. The difficult thugs that were creating so much difficulty have found a new home. I hope it works out better for them. They were certainly too aggressive for my tanks, here. It was a poorly chosen small change to bring them here. I am feeling fairly confident that it is a beneficial small change that sees them on their way elsewhere.

Small changes involve verbs. This morning I broke down boxes for the recycling. Definitely a positive outcome as small changes go; boxes were piling up, and the clutter was an aggravation. This morning? Less clutter. Less aggravation. In the process, I got a paper cut, from a bit of discarded paperwork that was stuffed into a narrow box. Pulling it out, definitely a small change, resulted in blood loss (not much), and a very irritating sensation in the crook of my hand, between my thumb and fingers. Ouch. Annoying. Not a small change I’m super eager to embrace; I’ll have to keep my hands out of the aquarium water until it heals, for sure. I love my aquariums, but let’s be real; it’s not a great idea to immerse an open wound or cut in aquarium water. It’s definitely full of a variety of bacteria.

I remind myself to wash it, again; it bled more, and there’s dried blood all over my hand.

I look around at the many small changes that have resulted from prolonged staying-at-home over the past handful of weeks. There’s more I could do, particularly here in my studio, but wow – so much has already been done.

I finish my coffee, thinking about other small changes I could make to improve my quality of life. I think about spring. I think about the garden. I observe the morning sunshine illuminating the bedroom window, through the blinds. I pause to savor this quiet moment, before I begin again. 🙂