Archives for posts with tag: in the garden

It’s a rainy Monday. A new day – and an opportunity to begin again. What a strange experience this mortal existence is. My Traveling Partner and I spent the morning over coffee listening together to a lecture by Alan Watts (why not?). I made a simple breakfast that we enjoyed together afterward. Just eggs scrambled with mushrooms and onions, and a toasted English muffin.

My cooking has gotten so much better during the pandemic… weirdly, I don’t have the recollection that it was “bad“, before… although my partner will occasionally, and ever so gently, suggest that perhaps it was less good than I thought. lol I figure he’s likely quite correct, and certainly based on his own experience that he has shared with me, I know I count on the truth of it. I’m okay with getting better at things; we become what we practice. I’ve been spending rather a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking things, as an alternative to fast food (which is an impractical cost and nutritional disappointment). I definitely enjoy the food I make at home so much more than I used to. It’s not even a question anymore; I like to eat at home more than I want to go out. 😀

My vegetable garden.

I am distracted by the garden, in a pleasant way. My time outside yesterday was well spent, tidying up the large-ish fabric pots that sit along the back strip of the property, just beyond the deck. I’ve got 5 of them. I used them to plant tomatoes last year, and it was waaaaay too many tomatoes, and rather a lot of work, as they became progressively more ridiculously overgrown. We don’t eat a lot of tomatoes, generally. lol I just find them easy and tasty to grow, so… easy win? Silly to take that approach, it’s haphazard and wasteful.

This year, I thought about what I cook, what we eat, what grows where we are, and what kinds of produce would be potentially more cost effective to grow, myself. It’s a relatively short list, that seems heavy on alliums of various sorts, which didn’t really surprise me; I’ve been using a fucking ton of shallots, scallions, leeks, and garlic this winter, as I learn to cook in a wok. LOL They’ve crept into a lot of my other cooking, too. Handy and flavorful. I also planted some carrots, and an assortment of lettuces and greens (and I do mean assortment; it’s a blend of several blends!). I have sucked at growing greens, so that’ll be where most of the work and personal growth will be. lol I don’t think I can fuck up onions. Carrots have been a success for me before, and the difference in flavor between grown in the garden and purchased at the store is remarkable.

5 pots with somewhat depleted soil became 4 well-filled pots, planted each with their own thing: leeks in one, scallions in other, then the carrots, and the greens. I’d like to add garlic and scallions. Maybe some bush beans? Peas? I sat down with my garden plan and updated it with those details to save my sanity later (otherwise, and I promise you this is true, I won’t remember what I planted, or where it got planted).

I sip my second coffee, listening to the rain fall. Thinking about herbs and roses – those will be finding their home in the front garden, among the flowers and the shrubbery. I savor this feeling; the feeling of being home.

What next with the day? Dunno. Maybe more time in the garden when the rain lets up. There’s some weeding to do in the flower beds, and things to make ready for more planting as the soil warms up enough for less hardy flowers and things. I’ve got nasturtium seeds… I could plant those today… doesn’t seem likely we’ll get another hard freeze at this point… probably…

I sip my coffee thinking about Spring and seeds and beginnings. I think about love. We become what we practice.

My Traveling Partner and I celebrated our anniversary this past weekend. 11 years as lovers, 10 years married. We didn’t do much about it, aside from noting the moment together, enjoying each other’s cooking, hanging out, and spending precious moments together. It was a very human experience; we also took turns dealing with our own, and each other’s, physical pain, and occasional off notes in love’s symphony. lol So human. We enjoyed good conversation, a deep connection, abiding affecting for each other, and some great music. Again, nothing particularly fancy or extraordinary, and with the pandemic being what it is, we spent our time together at home. 🙂 It is enough.

On one of my walks, I noticed the wild roses preparing to bloom. So soon?

It was a lovely weekend, and that’s how I remember it when I look back, in spite of being also aware that there were some moments I could have handled better (and some that perhaps he could have handled better). Yesterday I was in so much pain, generally, that by day’s end I’d maxed out on OTC and Rx pain relief, and still hurt enough to just call it a day quite early, thinking I’d just read quietly until whenever I felt sleepy… I don’t think I ever even picked up a book (or my Kindle).

I woke ahead of the alarm, with that painful day quite behind me, and an entirely new day ahead of me. I got up. Dressed. Went for my walk. Returned. Showered. Made coffee. Greeted my partner as he started his day. Now… here I am. 🙂 Sipping my coffee. Writing. Simple verbs. An ordinary morning.

Which moments are worth celebrating? Milestones like anniversaries seem an obvious choice. Perhaps it is less obvious to celebrate a routine pleasant Monday morning and a good cup of coffee? There are so many moments of suffering in a human life… I find value in celebrating even the small successes, and easy wins. Doesn’t seem to do me any harm to do so, and it tends to fill my day-to-day experience with small celebrations, which, generally, is quite pleasant. So… I do. 🙂

“The Alchymist” finally has a proper home in my garden. 🙂 Worth a moment to celebrate a very long journey to “home”.

A neighbor gave me a hand digging the hole for my only full-size potted rose, yesterday. I didn’t expect it, and was astonished that it was done so quickly. It was splendid to successfully replant The Alchymist into the garden from the big nursery pot it has endured for so long. 6 years? 7? (Could be going on 10…) I smile thinking of the remaining 3 roses that will go into the ground this Spring. I’m delighted that I have, thus far, managed each replanting without killing new growth, tearing off or breaking new shoots, or knocking off buds. 🙂

I was surprised how many buds there were on the long graceful canes of The Alchymist, already. Last year it only had one flower. LOL

…Small celebrations…

I remind myself to take a moment for life’s goodness, however humble, and to celebrate successes, however small. These moments are worthy of taking note, of savoring, of really enjoying – however brief they may seem, however modest in scale. An amazing, beautiful life can be built on small moments. 🙂

…And already it is time to begin again. 🙂 What are you celebrating, today?

I don’t think I actually ever gave thought to how often, or how much, “suction” place a role with regard to the general state of a human mouth. lol Having a molar extracted, and the resulting perforation of my lower facial sinus, with all the requested after-care that follows, is definitely an education in maintaining mindful awareness. The balance between “aware” and “self-conscious” – the latter of which tends to cause more moments of “sucking on my teeth, in some fashion – is, itself, a very new thing to explore (all over again). It generally… um… sucks.

(I’m aware of how dreadful that pun was, and nonetheless I spend five minutes wracked with mirth, trying not to laugh literally out loud, nor to stifle my laughter in any way that might result in disturbing the healing of that tooth socket, with the realization that my situation literally illustrates the point I was making the first place driving still further laughter. What a morning. What the fuck is the point of “uncomfortable merriment”? Why is that even a thing? lol)

Eating is complicated. Drinking is a major challenge. Even sitting around, generally, reading, watching a video, or just being thoughtful, seems to continuously put me at risk of subtly (or less so) “pulling” at that wound in my mouth with some quantity of suction unintentionally. “Rinsing” my mouth requires a rather delicate approach, since any sort of “swishing” technique likely involves – you guessed it already, I bet – suction. It’s not the very firm sucking-suction of deliberately sucking on something (like a straw) that trips me up; it’s the common everyday rather mild suction of things like holding my tongue to the roof of my mouth, or drinking from a container with a small opening, or… swallowing. lol That last one plagues me – it is unavoidable. I’m not bitching, I’m just saying; there are techniques involved that I did not already know.

I woke to rain. I find myself wondering how the Praying Mantis hatchlings are doing. They hatched yesterday, from purchased egg cases that I put in the garden in the spring.

There appear to be hundreds of wee mantises on this one rose bush, basking in the sunshine.

The dense foliage of the reliably well-leaved out rose bush on which I placed them offers a lot of places to hide safely, and with my container garden being very near a forested green space, and birds coming and going at the deck feeder every day, there is plenty of food for the young mantises – and plenty of predators to be concerned with. I spotted them fairly quickly, when I went out to water the garden.

I watched them for awhile.

I watched several quite skillfully avoid a largish, probably quite frustrated, garden spider who had also taken up housekeeping in the rose bush. I was feeling certain that sooner or later, the spider would have her meal, when a young mantis turned the tables on the predator-prey narrative, and began to enjoy her first meal – of spider. Wow, Nature, way to present a life lesson!

I watch awhile longer. Choices. Verbs. Sunshine. Moments.

I felt huge peering down at the wee creatures in my garden. Some of them stared seemingly fearlessly, curiously, back at me. I felt a tickle on my arm, and notice that one, then several more, have jump from the bush to my arm, and my hand, as I held my camera outstretched for a closer shot. I use the opportunity to give them an easy ride, slowly, around the garden. It delighted me to see each jump off to a new location in a hanging basket, potted salad greens, a bucket full of blooming flowers, or another rose. I remind them to watch out for spiders, before I go back inside.

I woke this morning to rain. It only makes sense to wonder how the little new comers are doing. Coffee first, I decided, and here I am – with a drink bottle (selected specifically for the size of the mouth of the bottle) partially filled with cool-not-icy-cold coffee, listening to the rain and the sound of my fingers on the keyboard. I give some thought to where I might take my walk today; it’s the weekend, and I’ve been enjoying being out on the trail again, rain need not slow me down (it’s not rainy hard, just sort of dripping gently). Muddy or slick trails would be less than ideal… maybe along the waterfront? The well-paved trails are popular, so it’s not likely to have the same “away from it all” feel as I might experience on a wilderness trail, or even a suburban forest trail miles in, further along than an easy walk with a child would take one – still a lovely walk, worth taking. The city is reliably a beautiful and varied view.

Some other rainy morning, along the waterfront, and a view of a city I love.

…I keep coming back to this not-excessively-painful-but-definitely-wholly-uncomfortable-and-quite-inconveniently-tender-complicated-to-care-for wound in my mouth; it distracts me. I also find my thoughts returning to the wee newcomers in my garden. I can’t do much about the extracted tooth; the jaw and gum need time and care to heal. I can, however, satisfying my curiosity about the mantises – verbs are required. A moment of action is all that is necessary…

The smell of freshness, summer rain, and petrichor fill my senses when I step out onto the deck. The sound of rain on the big leaf maples is musical. It isn’t raining hard; just a steady misty drizzle, barely hard enough to be explicitly rain. I check “Baby Love”, the rose on which the mantis young found themselves on their very first day, eagerly seeking signs that “the kids are alright”…

Petals have fallen in the rain, but the wee mantis young take the rainy day in stride.

I spot first one, then another, then several, then, as my eye begins to calibrate to their shape and color, their plentiful numbers are revealed. Most have simply stepped around to a convenient underside of a leaf, or even the narrow protection of a stem. A few just stand out in the rain, damp, seeming unconcerned.

They are everywhere I look. A good metaphor for so many things I sometimes struggle to see that are “right in front of me”. 🙂

A few minutes of writing, some coffee, a rainy morning… I’ve been most particularly tempted by this deliciously rainy summer morning… I think I’ll begin again. 🙂

In the garden, or on the trail, it’s a lovely time to embrace this “now” moment. (Your results may vary; there are verbs involved.)

After numerous flight delays, I finally reached my destination, and a taxi. I was one 40 minute cab ride away from home.

My driver made the trip in a heart-stopping 24 minutes!

My driver made the trip in a heart-stopping 24 minutes!

My homecoming was delightful, warm, loving, supportive. I know we hung out for a little while, I know souvenirs were brought forth, shared, discussed. There may have been an anecdote shared, or two.  I think we ‘got caught up’. I didn’t stay  up late, but I didn’t rush to bed, either; Las Vegas got me used to just going and going and going…ending the evening and going to sleep was challenging, in spite of obvious signs of exhaustion.

Yesterday happened. Most of it involved sleeping. I woke in the morning, too early, had coffee and started an argument. It hadn’t been my intention, and in-the-moment I wouldn’t have described the circumstances that way, but looking back, the step-by-step process of ‘starting shit’ was evident, and well-followed with considerable precision. I was still so incredibly fatigued that I was highly volatile, and that’s a poor moment to attempt conversation about political matters –  important or otherwise. This was not ‘important’. I was just killing time, waiting for an entirely other sort of moment, actually, and my choices were poor.  (Not surprising, really, my decision-making when I am fatigued is often quite peculiarly poor, and I suspect it is due to the specifics of my TBI.) I went back to bed, once it became clear I just wasn’t rested enough yet to be fit to interact with human beings.

Yesterday I slept 16.5 hours, waking 4 times for various reasons, and durations of time. I managed to drink about 128 ounces of water (thank you Hello Kitty water bottle!). I even managed to fit in some meditation, some yoga, and a couple short walks.  Apparently that is what it takes me to recover from 4 days in Las Vegas. lol (I think we could all have done without including a nasty tearful temper tantrum, next time I’ll try that.)

I am excited to be home. I am rested. Life feels very good.

Today is a good day to garden.

Today is a good day to garden.

Today is a good day to notice small delights.

Today is a good day to notice small delights.

Today is a good day to enjoy simple things.

Today is a good day to enjoy simple things.

Today is a good day to love without reservations.

Today is a good day to love without reservations.

Today is a good day to change the world.

It was an interesting weekend. Hormones, a homecoming, and the fun of a traveler’s tales wove a narrative with some ups and downs, some challenges, and some real delights. Spring in the garden and along the shorter walks I can manage on this knee gave up some wonderful pictures to enjoy, and some perspective on what matters most that helped me stay balanced and grounded as much as I could manage with the choices I made.

The loveliness of spring is, whatever else may also be.

The loveliness of spring is, whatever else may also be.

I am an imperfect being, human, alive, and more fragile than I expect to be. I suspect we all are.  I don’t make my best choices under stress; more stuff causes me stress than seems rational, necessary, or wise. From a distance it is comical, up close it is as likely to provoke tears of frustration. Hormone hell? Yeah, I still deal with it. I’ve got just 55 days now until I can ‘officially’ say I have ‘gone through menopause’. More hilarity; that doesn’t actually offer any real guarantee I won’t ever ever ever have a period, or that my hormones won’t turn some invisible corner and wreak havoc in my life for hours or days… just that it is less likely by far, and I am easily labelled ‘past my child-bearing years’. lol.  Not a great demonstration of medical precision. Still… 55 days left, and I am eager to be done with it.

A single raindrop doesn't say much about the weather.

A single raindrop doesn’t say much about the weather.

I’m excited that my partner returned from his getaway with restored enthusiasm for getting out into the world, into the wild, for hiking, camping, fishing… and I’m jealous, more than I want to share, more than seems fair.  I’d like to share those experience with him.  Arthritis. Knees. Ankle. I’m struggling with pain and mobility on a level that would likely make any sort of challenging hike not even a little bit fun for either of us to ‘enjoy’ together, at least for now.  The irony of it seems more than a little cruel to me. Damn, though, I love seeing him interested in something fun and energetic, and ‘all his own’. Newness and learning open the doors to fantastic conversation and connection; everyone needs to have their own thing, their own experiences, otherwise – what is there to ‘share’?

We serve love best when we are more than a reflection of each other.

We serve love best when we are more than a reflection of each other.

I approach life more fearlessly these days… which apparently has a down-side I had not anticipated.  For so many years I’ve kept my anger in check with fear… so… now what? It’s a scary question with some amount of urgency behind it because… I’m angry a lot.  I’d like to think not abusively so, but… anger is nasty shit. How is anger ever not at all abusive? I don’t know many people who don’t find someone else’s anger at least uncomfortable, and often ‘too much’ or ‘inappropriate’ to the circumstances or magnitude of the event. So… it’s now time to work on anger, and not just that, time to work on Anger, too. The big A. The anger that doesn’t die. The Anger that has festered over years. The Anger as a meta-emotion.  Rage. Fury. The thing that takes over and escapes my control; now is the time to unchain the beast and teach it some manners.

Stormy weather...

Stormy weather…

It’s a little scary to know that it’s time to face the Anger, best it, and move on to other things. Like a fearless hero in a legend, I am facing a foe and uncertain of the outcome – this is the big one. This is the demon I must conquer to take a next step to healing the worst damage, because that ‘worst damage’ to which I refer is the source and well-spring of that vast untamed sea of Anger. To set foot on that damaged shore, I must find a way to safely navigate that sea.

Vast, but sometimes not everything it appears to be.

Vast, but sometimes not everything it appears to be.

I wanted a more relaxed, gentle, calm weekend than the one I had, however as a student of life, and perpetually a beginner with practicing mindfulness, I value the lesson. I benefited from the opportunity to examine old problems from new angles.  I appreciate the real experience of being supported by my partner, and also seeing what that demands of my partner and that there may be more I can do for myself to alleviate the burden. A weekend with less easy delight and charm that I allowed myself to look forward to (and expectations are the motherfucker of all good times, without question), and a lot of intimacy, vulnerability and depth of connection, and opportunities to share, get close emotionally, and talk through hard stuff.  I’m inclined to call it a ‘great weekend’ in spite of the opportunities for tears.  Anyone taking the quantity of my tears personally, who wasn’t around in the 60s, 70s, and 80s is probably missing the point of my tears.

In general, life is quite lovely.

In general, life is quite lovely.

I miss my other partner, and it’ll be nice to have her home and hear her tales of adventure in the big city.  I allow myself to look forward to it with real delight, in spite of that wee demon whispering in my ear about things and other things.  We choose so much of our reality. Today is a good day to choose joy. Today is a good day to choose compassion. Today is a good day to remember – every time – that we are each having our own experience, and the irritability of that person over there (whoever, wherever) isn’t about us.

Perspective. Mindfulness. Sufficiency. Savoring the small delights more than I rail about the disappointments makes an important difference.

Perspective. Mindfulness. Sufficiency. Savoring the small delights more than I rail about the disappointments makes an important difference.

I feel pretty close to understanding something…