Archives for posts with tag: choose your adventure

Note: I’ve referenced a bunch of roses by name in this one, without adding pictures (in most cases) – it may be interesting to open a second tab and google them to see what they look like or to read more about them. 🙂 If you put the word “rose” in front of their names, you should get images that are the correct rose without a lot of b.s. (I didn’t feel right linking to point of sale pages on all these, as it might have given the appearance of an endorsement.) Ready?

In my garden, the roses (and some flowers) are selected with great care to fit a theme. The theme? Love. Passion. Romance. A story of lovers over time. So, a rose named “The Alchymist” (a Kordes cross of R. eglanteria and a climber named Golden Glow from 1956) lives in the garden representing my Traveling Partner (it makes sense if you know him). “Baby Love”, (Scrivens, 1992?) was a gift from my Traveling Partner when we moved in together and he started a wee garden for me out on our balcony – “baby love” is also one of his pet names for me. So sweet. 😀 This year, close to “The Alchymist”, I’ll be adding “Baltimore Belle” (Feast, 1843), a nod to my home state of Maryland and recollections of many happy visits to “Charm City” in younger years.

Over the years, roses have come and gone. My first roses were “inherited” when my then-spouse and I bought a little house in Texas. Later, my first “proper” rose garden started with a Jackson & Perkins collection, before I had discovered the robust lasting beauty of roses on their own roots.

As gardens came and went with various moves, only those roses that could survive well in containers stayed “in my garden” as it moved from place to place, but I knew what I wanted, and the vision lingered. I want a garden that wraps me in love. 🙂 So, the roses are selected with great care, right down to the names. “The Alchymist” and “Baby Love” are currently joined by “Nozomi” (“Pink Pearl”, Onodera, 1968 – the rose that has been with me longest), and “Easy on the Eyes” (Carruth, 2017 – my “youngest” rose), and “Sweet Chariot” (Moore, 1984 – one of the first miniatures I ever purchased). I had a few others suited to my theme at my last address, but they weren’t doing well, and I decided not to haul their fungi, pests, or health issues to the new address. Starting fresh seemed the wiser choice. Some I’ll for sure replace (I miss the lovely “X-rated”, “Irresistible” and “Ebb Tide”) others maybe not (many of which I suspect just weren’t a good choice for container life…). We’ll see.

Soon three new roses will arrive: “Baltimore Belle”, along with “Golden Opportunity” (Carruth, 2012?), and “All My Loving” (Fryer, 2011). Roses have more than beautiful forms and captivating scents – they have provenance, history, and stories to tell. Some of my fondest favorites achieved their place in my heart because of the stories they have to tell. R. gallica, for example? It’s the oldest known rose, ever, anywhere. Wow, right? What must this rose have seen of human kind and histories gardens? I often consider planting her, just because… “history“.

I have a two long-time favorites I may never plant into this garden. They’re huge. Truly grand in size, and both are very thorny, too. I don’t have the space without a lot of strict pruning two or three times a year. lol One is R. eglanteria. One of my fondest favorites (also called “sweet briar” rose) she smells of green apple, and has so many adorable “wild rose” type flowers in a cute pink color. I often think that the Sleeping Beauty’s thorn-bushes were likely a mix of wild blackberries and R. eglanteria. 🙂 It’s a whimsical notion that delights me. The other? “Sombreuil” (unknown breeder, 1880, and previously sold as “Colonial White” in the US) – a massive and impressive climbing rose with enormous saucer-sized white blooms that are exquisitely fragrant and temptingly numerous – she guards them fiercely with her plentiful nasty thorns. Every year that I owned her, my arms told that the tale of keeping her pruned back. lol Worth it, though, and I daydream of adding her to my garden for that heavenly tea rose scent. She really doesn’t “fit the theme”, though… but oh I do miss her so!

…I could add either or both, but I can’t do so without acknowledging the challenge involved in keeping them to a manageable size in this climate; I’ve experienced that first hand. They were genuinely too big for container gardening, and I knew that back in 1998, when I moved them from Fresno, California, to Portland, Oregon. Back then, I had a community garden plot in the big community garden on the campus of Reed College. So… I planted them in my community garden plot. Why not? Well, I’ll tell you why not – about 7 years later, the college decided to reclaim the space the garden occupied to build new dorms. Those two roses, by that time, were so insanely large I could not move them at all! The college “kept them”, and indeed they are growing in the locations they had been planted (at least that was the case last I saw). My R. eglanteria was easily half the width of my plot (about 5′ wide) and twice that high. “Sombreuil” was similarly wide, on the other side of the plot, and far taller, with long sweeping canes curving downward gently, extending her visual width, each cane weighed down heavily with those big blooms. I only have one “sensible” location for either (or both) of them here, and that would be just on the other side of the retaining wall, instead of those invasive non-native blackberries (although that would be replacing a non-native with non-natives…so…). Then I could just let them do their thing over the years, taking space and being lovely. Getting them planted there, though, would require many days of intense labor clearing out those fucking blackberries by hand. Worth it? Maybe not…?

Where was I going with this? Love. Gardening. Roses. There are definitely roses I’d like to add, but limited space and a thematic commitment shorten the list quite a bit. 😀 What do I have in mind, as of this one moment on this particular summer day?

Love at First Sight – I mean, yeah, our “origin story” has a real hint of that “love at first sight” kind of experience.

Ebb Tide – the tides come and go. Emotions, too. That, and my Traveling Partner is a Navy veteran – there aren’t many roses with nautically relevant names. lol

Bliss – because love can be so much bliss, for real. 😀

You’re the One – well, yeah, that’s how it has played out for both of us. This unexpected lasting commitment and affection for each other has been significant.

Crazy Love – also, yeah, we both bring the fucking crazy to this rollercoaster. LOL

Orange Honey – okay, so, not “on theme” but another rose that was one of my earliest choices for my first rose garden. I fell in love with the trailing habit, the sweet fragrance, and enjoyed my friendship with the breeder Ralph Moore. It’s just a rose worth having. 🙂

Cutie Pie – my partner is my best friend, my “prince charming”, and for sure a “cutie pie”, so this one makes sense to me. 😀

Realistically, I have doubts that I could fit another 10 roses to my wee garden, after the 5 I’ve already got, and the three that are on their way right now. LOL I could probably do 10-12 (total), though, without looking like a mad woman… So, as with so many things in life, it’s about selection. Choices made with care. It’s about sufficiency. “Enough”. It’s about overcoming a very human inclination to acquire and to accumulate. Greed is not a character trait I want to develop (quite the contrary, I practice sufficiency).

How best to narrow down my list of 10 to 3-4? Well, one way I do that kind of thing is to let circumstances call some of the shots; I go to the website that I’m shopping from, and narrow things down (see list above) based on what fits my theme and appeals to me… then, that is likely further limited by what is still in stock. LOL This is how I selected the three that are headed my way now! If I look at the website this morning at my wishlist of 10 roses above, just two of them are actually available. This is sometimes frustrating, but it also prevents my garden from being too structured by introducing a certain not-quite-randomness. It also slows me down quite a lot. I’ll just add the three I’ve ordered for the 2023 garden – next year I’ll be looking over the options available then.

In the meantime, I entertain myself thinking about gardening and roses and searching for just the right rose to add here or there… and wait for new roses to arrive to be planted. Each one is a new beginning all its own. 🙂 Roses and gardens make beautiful metaphors. 😀

What’s lighting your path? What are you using for a map? What processes and values guide your steps? Where are you going? Does this path even take you there… ever? If you make some very different decision, will you find yourself somewhere very different than you expected to be?

If you get to the donut shop late, you have less selection from which to choose. (It’s a metaphor.)

It is a pleasant Thursday morning. I slept in. Took my camera out on the trail and enjoyed the sunrise over the marsh out at the Tualatin River Nature Reserve. It was a lovely quiet morning, and not much going on. The day had already started to feel like it would be a hot one, by the time I headed home.

I am “not waiting” to hear back about a job interview that went (I think) very well. It’s hard to maintain my chill factor and stay focused on other things; the wait is what it is, and obsessing over it doesn’t help or speed things up.

The future is filled with unknowns. This moment, now, is filled with the potential for joy. I have choices.

I breathe, exhale, relax – and have another sip of this excellent cup of coffee. My Traveling Partner has some big shop projects going. I am helpful when I can be, otherwise I focus on not being in the way. LOL It’s a nice time to enjoy us, together. The days linger gently. We share moments, often, that might ordinarily be overcome by the demands of work and employment. I savor the time as it is. It’s likely to be all too brief. 🙂

My partner is merry and encouraging as I do the job search things. It’s nice. I feel loved and supported. I feel appreciated. I can’t say enough about how much it really does matter to have this kind of support while I look for a new job! I hope I am clear with him about how much I appreciate and value it, when we’re discussing the progress together. 🙂 I smile, feeling loved, and remind myself to also be one of the people loving me so well. That matters too.

It’s a good day to run some errands and get some things done around the house. It’s already time to start preparing the garden for winter crops and general cleaning up before the rains come again. It’s a good day to take a look around and improve my quality of life (and sanity) by tidying some things up… this studio is a bit of a mess (again) and could use my attention. I feel hopeful – and purposeful. The path ahead “feels paved” and illuminated, and it’s a good time to begin again.

Sometimes it feels deceptively easy to “see where I’m going” – it’s still a journey with no map. 🙂

I’ve got huge plans for today… sort of. It’s a lovely summer day, not too hot, and nothing much going on. Spent some time out on the trail with my camera in the morning. Enjoyed coffee with my Traveling Partner (already up) before I left – then again after I got back. It was a strange misty morning, lovely for walking.

The mist lent itself well to thinking thoughts.

Out in the marsh, the ducks and geese were also enjoying the morning, a bit out of reach of my lens. I’m okay with that; I just kept walking.

The ducks and geese took no notice of me as I walked along the trail.

I had the park mostly to myself this morning. A rare treat. I stopped awhile at a favorite spot for watching smaller birds was visited by quite a few swallows, and other birds I was less familiar with. Good times.

Few of my shots turned out this morning, but that hardly matters; I enjoyed the time.

The walk back up the path was well-timed; I passed a lot of other folks with cameras on their way down the path, talking about seeing pelicans? I didn’t see any pelicans. lol I marveled at the dewy spider webs that festooned the meadow flowers as I walked back to the car in the summer sunshine.

Like delicate lace.

…But the morning isn’t the day. The moment is not the whole experience. The time that has passed is not about future plans. lol So…what’s the big deal today? It’s not all that, really, I am just planning a (hopefully) delicious homemade meal for dinner… garlic bread, spaghetti with a favorite meat sauce, cooked slowly, with care. I enjoyed selecting the ingredients. Been thinking about the cooking all day. LOL So… yeah. I’m excited about an absolutely ordinary moment-to-come. 🙂 It’s enough to put a smile on my face. I don’t need more than that today.

It’s a lovely place to begin again.

This morning I’m all smiles. I had a lovely day with my Traveling Partner, yesterday. It finished well. Life feels balanced, and I am contented. Sure, sure, still looking for a job, so there’s that, but I don’t see that it has any requirement to be a massive continuous buzzkill every minute of every day… or… any minutes. Ever. I know “this too will pass” – doesn’t matter whether it’s a good mood, a bad mood, a wonderful moment, a tragedy; moments are moments. Transient. Finite. Limited. Very little in a single human life is so dire that despair is truly warranted (that’s one of the things that makes despair so terrible and terrifying – it feels like “everything”, and it’s very “sticky”). I enjoy the smile on my face, take a sip of this glass of water, and listen to a video that makes me smile with such tremendous delight it’s hard to move on to the next one. No, I’m not linking it; delight is not “universal”, and what tickles me so profoundly may be disturbing or offensive or puzzling for someone else. No point. Hit up Google or YouTube, find your groove. 😉

Different day, different meadow.

I went to the nearby nature reserve this morning to get shots of birds. I got there just at daybreak; first car into the park. Choice. The summer-scented air was fragrant with meadow flowers and a hint of marsh. The morning was very quiet and quite overcast. I grabbed my gear and walked down the path to a spot I know is a good one for taking pictures of birds. No birds. It was rather as if the wildlife decided to sleep in on this quiet gray morning. I walked on. Snapped some pictures of flowers, the skyline, reflections on the water. Kept walking. Eventually my Traveling Partner pinged me.

My last trip was more “productive”, if I choose to define it that way – there were more birds.
I got a lot of chances to improve on my skills at taking pictures of birds that day.

There’s no expectation that I’ll cut my camera time short when my partner wakes, although I do try to “stay gone” long enough for him to sleep in, should he choose to and find himself able. Still… not much going on in the nature park, so I turned back and walked back to the parking lot. I passed a lot of other visitors with cameras. By the time I was within view of the parking lot, the path down to the meadow looked like a fucking camera convention. Individuals and groups, each taking some favored spot, waiting, watching, hoping for a great shot of… something. (Anything – other than each other.) lol I see a lot of really fancy gear as I pass other visitors. I could easily be overcome with dissatisfaction and “gear envy”…but it’s not my way. Like, I mean, explicitly not my choice to be thusly overcome; I get some great shots with my modest gear. I enjoy it as it is. It’s often so much more about location, timing, and willingness to walk on, or sit quietly awhile, and less to do with the gear, generally. 🙂 A lot of life is like that. Even mindfulness practices – anyone can (people often do) spend a ton of money on coaches, consultants, therapists, or “specialists” to learn to sit quietly, breathe, and relax. (It’s even possible to take an expensive destination retreat at an actual monastery, should you have the desire and the resources. It’s not necessary to do so, though, at all.) It’s not even a certainty that spending that kind of money on breathing exercises and mindfulness practices will “pave the trail” for you more skillfully than taking it upon yourself to read a book and begin practicing practices. It’s more about the verbs than the dollars.

…I’m one of those people, by the way. No kidding. I was at the edge and still spiraling down, and I felt wholly defeated. I spent a notable amount of my limited resources on therapy. Doing so saved my life. Looking back, I can see how easily I could have made that journey, perhaps, without spending that money…only… I didn’t, because I wasn’t able to. I did not know what I did not know. I needed that help. So I did the needful and took steps to get the help I needed. Did my therapist do more than point me in the direction of reading different books, or helping me practice other practices? Oh, for sure. Real therapy. I needed a lot of help making that healing journey (that is still in progress), and part of that process was gaining a better understanding of my actual legit issues. Still… it is possible to make a healing journey without a map. It isn’t about the money.

I prepared my reading list so that someone who maybe can’t at all afford the expense of therapy in their here-and-now could still benefit from the foundations of the journey I’m taking myself. I write this blog for that same reason – and also because I often find that I “fail to take my own good advice” because I’ve lost perspective over time. This blog is something of a repository of my notes about this journey, and my changing perspective over time – a reminder that it can be done, because I’ve done it, just in case I find myself doubting. (I’m very human.)

What a lovely morning this is, so far. It may last the day. It may not. So much of that is up to me. I’ve got choices to make. Practices to practice. Verbs to put into motion. It’s time to begin again.

Good steps to begin a journey:

  1. Do something differently. (Follow-up)
  2. What about self-care?
  3. Maybe just don’t be in your own way?

Sometimes we choose change. Sometimes change is simply part of the flow of events around us and we see it coming. Sometimes change is dropped on us unexpectedly, rocking us off our center and creating chaos.

This week I got laid off from a job I really enjoyed. Good culture. Great colleagues. Good pay and benefits. I’ll miss all of that. Change is.

Getting the news in the moment was hard. It was unexpected, and it was an intensely emotional personal experience in a professional setting. Uncomfortable. I feel fortunate to have experience practicing non-attachment. I feel fortunate to have a romantic partnership built on shared values and mutual respect that supports and encourages me through change. I feel fortunate that we are relatively well-prepared for something like this, and that the job market looks very promising, in spite of so much news about companies doing lay-offs. (There are just as many articles about companies hiring, and no shortage of opportunities in my feeds.) So, it becomes a matter of practices (like meditation, like non-attachment, like good self-care) suddenly becoming relevant (…”this is not a drill!”), and supremely helpful.

I woke yesterday to the relative luxury of my time being wholly my own. I took time to get a sunrise walk in, camera in hand. Spent some hours in the co-work space I favor, focused on various job search tasks. Got my unemployment claim started. Kicked off a variety of queries of job postings of various sorts. Applied for a couple that look like a decent fit for my skills, mostly to get comfortable with the process again. In due time, the interviews will begin to dictate my time, and eventually it’ll be back to work. 🙂

This morning, after my morning camera hike, I went back to the house for a leisurely morning coffee with my Traveling Partner. It was a relaxed morning of this-n-that, and then back to the co-work space. Later I’ll do some leg-work for my partner’s business. Life feels pretty good.

Change is. I don’t expect this will “always” feel easy, but I sure am enjoying that it feels easy right now.

I look at the clock and grin; it doesn’t dictate my experience right now. It’s still time to begin again.