Archives for posts with tag: love and lovers

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. 😀

I’m sipping my coffee feeling fortunate, this morning. I feel fortunate most mornings, these days. I am lucky enough to be in love with my best friend. It’s lovely. At this age, I am sometimes less than ideally fit to indulge rapacious lust, and we’re not ducking off to a quiet spot for a quick romp as often as when we first got together (nor as often as we’d probably like). The aches and pains of aging and health-related matters sometimes get in the way of sex. You know what they don’t get in the way of? The love.

“Contemplation” 12″ x 16″ acrylic and iron oxide. August 2011

My Traveling Partner – and titular dream lover, and best friend – steps into the studio and plays with my hair for a moment while I write. It’s a sweet romantic moment. I feel loved. Soon enough, he’ll be in the shop with his son working on this-or-that, and I’ll be on with the day tackling an errand or some housekeeping. Eventually, we will connect again – on a break, or with a question, or simply seeking each other out for a moment of connection without an agenda aside from love and loving. It’s easy in these easy moments to think love itself is easy… there are still verbs involved. There is the ongoing need to practice deep listening, to respect and care for each other, to put in the effort when circumstances are difficult…

…Like this morning, actually. I woke with a ferocious headache that feels a bit as if my brain stem is just… on fire. Yeesh. The pain is an unnecessary complication, and I resent having to deal with it. I manage, however, not to drag that into every interaction (so far), and just deal with it quietly in the background without turning it into a thing all its own. Win! 😀

I woke this morning with this fucking headache, the awareness of which interrupted a lovely dream that I was in my partner’s embrace, entwined naked in bed, sleeping in each other’s arms… yep. I was sleeping, dreaming of sleeping. What the hell? LOL When I woke, though, there was – in spite of the headache – a lovely all-over sort of awareness that I am truly loved. I don’t have the words to describe the emotional context in which I woke – it was wonderful, and since that moment, headache and all, I smile every time I see or interact with my partner. I love that guy. lol 😀

Sweet moments matter. It’s so easy (too easy) to put all the focus on tragedy, drama, and pain, or to become swamped by life’s inevitable chaos. This morning, I let the moment be what it is, and sit with my coffee and this smile. Those matter far more than the headache I woke with. Soon enough, I’ll surely begin again – for now? This moment, this lovely late summer morning at home with my partner, is quite enough just as it is. 🙂

I arrived home smiling. My Traveling Partner was also smiling. As I started making my coffee, he started telling me new/other/additional details about the CNC he is building. Interesting stuff. There was a break in the conversation, and I started to tell him what my day plan had in store… “I wasn’t finished talking,” he advises. I apologize and make room for him to continue.

Somehow we continue to be “out of step” with each other. I don’t think I ever actually get to telling him what my day holds (as far as plans go). I indicate I’m going to take my coffee into the studio and write a bit before I head out for the errands I’d planned. He restarts (continues?) the conversation about the CNC as I walk down the hall, so I stop and turn back to avoid being rude and hear him out. I’m interested. I also have an idea in mind for my morning writing. (It’s gone, now, and was by the time I sat down at my desk.)

We continue to be out of step with each other. I feel a bit sad and tired over it. He sounds hurt and annoyed when he sticks his head into the studio. So far the morning is…uncomfortable, awkward, and emotionally unsatisfying. When I think about the smile on my face (and in my heart) as I arrived home, I’m irked. With myself. With circumstances. It’s aggravating. We both want to hang out, and it’s fairly clear (to me) that one (or both) of us is not actually in a place to make that easy, for some reason. I don’t actually understand it. I just see it. Am I helpless in the face of this shitty moment? No. I could take action – I’m just, at least for now, unclear on the best course of action to take.

…What a shitty cup of coffee this one is. I made it just as I make other cups of coffee, but this one right here? Dreadful. Feels like a metaphor… (nonetheless, it is a pretty terrible cup of coffee, and no fooling, I’m still sitting here drinking it.)

I look over my list of errands. One of them is to a retailer that will apparently be closed today. Fucking hell, I’ve had this on my list for days, and I just keep missing the window. I breathe and exhale, letting go of the moment of frustration; it’s excessive for the concern at hand, and reflects the emotional tone of the moment in the background, more than anything to do with the errand itself. I feel myself teetering on the edge of running out of fucks to give far too earlier in the day – it is an unreasonable reaction to feeling frustrated with my partner and the dynamic between us in this moment.

…G’damn this is one awful cup of coffee…

I clearly need to begin again. Like, for real, all over again. LOL

My Traveling Partner is a very sweet man, to me. Lacking my Kindle (which it seems more and more likely I somehow managed to toss it out thoughtlessly, somehow), I am reading bound books (which I also love). I use most anything as a bookmark: business cards, advertising flyers, scraps of paper laying about, very thin pieces of wood, actual bookmarks I’ve made for myself on watercolor paper… just, whatever. He made me some new additions to my bookmarks, and I’m just so tickled. 3D printed little monster hands that appear to be clawing their way from between the pages, and some super-cute emoji bookmarks that have emojis we often share between us. I feel very loved.

I think about having a new Kindle, though, if only because night time reading is so much easier (and less likely to keep me awake longer than I was reading from sitting in bright light). I’ve promised myself that I shall celebrate my new job (when that is a thing) with a new Kindle. I asked my partner about the chances on a 3D printed Kindle cover… and started down the path of searching 3D print patterns and filament colors. lol I’m overly eager, it’s true. I quickly discovered I may want to try my hand at designing a cover, myself. I didn’t find any that really sing to me. It is what it is. I’m a woman of specific tastes, I suppose. Similarly, with filament color, so much depends on the design of the cover itself, I found myself a bit stalled.

I move on to other things. It is a quiet afternoon. I’ve gotten quite a lot done. Enjoyed my partner’s company immensely. Nice day for it.

…And it’s already time to begin again…

I queue up my favorite Portishead + Morphine playlist… reminders that “this too shall pass – or maybe not, but fuck, it’s life, right?” It’s enough to keep me engaged in the work in front of me, honey-smooth and mellow, low notes and minor chords, and the occasional poignant moment in the background. An Rx solution to “take the edge off” – not enough to put the pain to rest completely, but frankly, I wouldn’t be comfortable with coming so close to shutting down my ability to think and work and write in the middle of a work day.

Weird world. Chaos and pain and anger everywhere. Hate. Killings. More killings after that. Blood in the streets. What a strange and terrible time to be alive – but it’s not as if we get a choice; we’re born into the world as it is. Nothing more.

I take a breath, and exhale. I go looking for something more uplifting to listen to in the background. I don’t have anything in mind aside from being distracted from my personal experience of subjective pain, and the very ongoing need to manage that. It’s a good track for data entry, and I pull my shoulders up, straightening my spine. I don’t “feel any better”, but I know “good posture” results in “more up time”. I feel a certain subtle resentment over turns of phrase that conflate human beings with machinery… I am not a machine. Just this fleshy meat sack wrapped around a consciousness. Humbling. Limited.

It’s been an amazing (delightful) few days. I’m not sure what the “secret sauce” has been. My Traveling Partner has been in the shop (a lot) working on projects (several for me), and I’ve been enjoying sharing some of that time, and helping where I easily can. The quality of life lift that results his handiwork is more than pleasant or convenient; I feel very loved. Every time he finishes some project that is the result of some stray “I wish I had a…” or “it would be cool if this would…” kind of remark, I feel heard and understood. It’s special. I feel respected and cared for.

A new cutting board, made for me.

…Then, in some unexpected moment, he’ll snarl at me out of frustration or annoyance over something or another, and I am reminded how human we actually both are. lol Which is to say, “very”. Very human, indeed. Most of the time I let those moments go. Sometimes I laugh with him over it. Sometimes I cry. (Yeah, very human.) Those sorts of moments are more common when one of us is in pain. Pain shrinks our world, pulls our focus inward, and we lose perspective.

My Traveling Partner comes in to share with me his latest finished work; lovely earrings, laser cut from wood. They delight me. (Earrings are the only jewelry I commonly wear, and I do love a fun new pair of earrings!)

Partnership has highs and lows. Pain comes and goes. There’s this moment, now, and very little else has to grab my attention “right now”. It’s okay to take a breath, and begin again.