wordless wednesday with words

 

Blog challenge: shadows

Laundry year round and so grateful now that the sheets no longer come in as planks.

 

Bought this obelisk for 50 cents or two dollars or whatever from a guy at a rather make-shift garage sale outside an apartment building who said he was leaving town to go live with his mother in Florida. He was in his fifties at least and there was something sad not jubilant about his plans and he seemed to put a great deal of weight on the sale of these bits and pieces as if it was going to help his cause and every time I walk past this thing (which I love) in the garden I think of him and hope he is well. Whoever he is.

 

My parents gave us the gift of a wheelbarrow when we moved into this house. After a couple decades of hard use it finally rusted out and has since been put out to pasture near the blackberry bushes. I would like to grow cucumbers in it this year.

 

Chairs for tea and sunrise watching. Fairies live in this vicinity.

 

Unfortunately the picture doesn’t show my beloved cat socks.

 

This candle, never used, smells exactly like everybody’s dad’s aftershave. It’s lived on our patio table for at least two years and sometimes when I’m sitting outside and want to conjure up a certain memory, I lift the lid, close my eyes and inhale… and it’s nineteen seventy something again.

 

#thepowerofshadows

& a poem.

 

 

a story of perfection

 

Once upon a time I used to spend hours trying to arrange the garden so that the tall blue things would grow behind the shorter yellow things but not bloom before the red things and I’d get frustrated if it all didn’t work to plan.

We had just moved into our house. There was still a lawn then, and a couple of tidy but boring flowerbeds with unloved plants. (The beds were boring not because they were tidy but because they were unloved. You can always tell.)

We planted a veggie bed and took up the lawn and enlarged the boring beds and laid down some stone paths (that become a labyrinth in winter) and although I was still trying to control the reds and the yellows, I began to notice things moving around on their own. And instead of fighting it, I eased up a little and watched the changes, the way the joe pye weed took over the space that was once thick with lupins and though I love lupins and missed them, the joe pye weed brought new pleasures. And dragonflies.

It seemed the garden knew how to be.

And it occurred to me that it didn’t need a foreman or a director orchestrating the blues and the reds. (It needed a maintenance manager for sure, but not a lot else.) The garden knew what to do all on its own.

It knew that this grows well here and that doesn’t. No matter how much you try to force the issue… this will grow and that will not. And it knew that the daisies didn’t want to grow in a clump and somehow they became willy nilly singles and twosomes in places of their own choosing.

So I surrendered to the wisdom of the garden, accepted the job of maintenance manager and let the plants pretty much decide what works.

The result is a chock-a-block, semi-naturalized space with a variety of things, some planted by me, many pooped by birds or self sown and appearing in areas of their own choosing. The dragonflies rest in the sun on native solomon’s seal and the flutterbys flutter by and everything is hale and hearty because nothing is there against its will. *Nothing requires extra watering to stay alive (except the veggies), nothing needs fertilizer. Just the maintenance of clipping and weeding and the joy of daily walks to see what’s new and — oh yes, very definitely yes! — commentary en route. (Plants love a bit of chat.)

Every year it’s the same but different… a drift of bee balm has slowly taken over from black eyed susan while the black eyed susan has moved in among the grape vines and the prairie sunflowers have nudged out the yarrow but make room for the salvia… and the pleasure I get from watching these changes, the symbiosis of the plants, is beyond measure better than anything my wee human mind trained in symmetry could ever plot out.

Perfection is a myth in all its forms.

And even if some form of it were achievable (the gardens of Versailles? the hanging wotsits of Babylon?), I’d opt for the imperfection of happy surprises around every corner. Every time.

For which I take no credit.

“A little studied negligence is becoming to a garden.”  Eleanor Perenyi

 

thinking in ink

 
Idle thoughts this morning, outside, pen in hand, and I almost don’t want to write at all because of all this green green beauty everywhere but I’ll write what I hear instead. Cardinal in the distance and a closer trilling (robins??), also some cooing and squawking. Much birdsong in any case and I think of Rachel Carson’s book and I don’t want to read it, don’t want to interrupt (ah, crow!) the beauty of this green fantasy, with reality, which of course is the whole problem with everything, the reason we fill our houses and cars and streets with garbage, our waterways, whole oceans and landfills and the landfills of other countries. And we believe this is evolution. We are experts at not interrupting our fantasy with reality.

Evolution (synonyms):

  • change
  • expansion
  • growth
  • progression
  • transformation
  • flowering
  • increase
  • maturation
  • unfolding
  • evolvement
  • natural process

So I sit outside this morning after the rain overnight  and the still dripping trees, cosy and dry under a patio umbrella and I listen as I write. Cars in the distance, a train. The sound of the still dripping. Earlier I walked barefoot in a puddle on the cement and now a sow bug meanders (wrong word) near my tea mug (un-related).

Sow bug:

Prefers damp or humid areas and darker areas too. Also know as woodlouse.

There are 756,211 shades of green in the yard. At least. Two morning glory vines please me in how their slender tendrils are already grasping for something to climb. (Distant cardinal, crow again…) Rumour has it the cardinal’s song (in the morning anyway) is a call to its mate to say I’m here, I’m fine! A pair have made a nest in the burning bush for the second year.

Crow:

Proportionally, the brains of some crows are bigger than ours.

Yesterday I planted a garden for the butterflies and put up a sign: Fleuriste Papillon… It may, I’m thinking, be helpful for butterflies travelling from other places (though aren’t they all?). Of course I realize now that Spanish would probably have been MORE helpful but I was recently in Montreal and saw the papillons in the botanical gardens, which seemed a sad though beautiful thing, though the space was large and light and filled with tropical flowers and trees and nectars. I spoke with someone there and askedif it was indeed a slightly sad thing and she said no, no, not at all, that the butterflies were born into it and knew nothing else and that they had everything there they needed, that most had a lifespan of only days to a few months. Butterflies are a much more complex thing than I realized and the number of varieties, shapes and sizes, was mind-boggling. Overall, an excellent learning space for humans. And they did seem happy enough but who can ever be sure?. Later we passed a number of fleuriste shops and it occurred to me that my two favourite words in French are fleuriste and papillon. And so the sign… though possibly more practical for incoming insects… could not be in Spanish.

Papillon in Spanish:

Mariposa.

et voila.

 
 
 

to cut or not to cut… no longer a question

 
 

I remember thinking how ridiculous my mother was

when she said she preferred

looking at flowers in the garden

rather than in the house.

She only ever cut a few at a time, usually things that needed pruning anyway or had been snapped off.

Why not cut a bouquet, I said.

Why not leave them outside for the birds and bees to enjoy, she said.

And I laughed.

Silly woman, I thought. You’re missing the whole point of a garden.

I was young.

Birds and bees weren’t a thing anyone talked about then.

I get her now.

She’d laugh if she knew.

p.s. Anyone with voracious tulip-decapitating squirrels is exempt from above sentiments and wise to cut the biggest bouquets their house will hold.

 
 
 

time for elves and fairies

 
 

Closing up shop for a wee while…

to enjoy the last of these beautiful dark nights

to welcome back the light

to sing and dance with some of my favourite people

to walk in the company of sunset over lake

to send gifts of donkey love to loved ones

(or cat and dog love, horse love, monkey love, wild animal finding safety and rehabilitation love, not to mention people love — oh my lord, there is so much love to send)

to read and read and read

to wrap a few small gifts

to cook a few meals (including that no-bake caramel cheesecake for the visiting boy because cheesecake is a meal)

to work on a blanket for a soon-to-be-born soul

to find the first star and give thanks for the above and so much more

 

The very best of the season to all…. this includes magic of course, and chocolate for breakfast (no food rules in December) and if you’re lucky, signs of elves, fairies and maybe even angels nibbling what’s left of your greens.

 

 

 

even at this time of year, and maybe even especially (aka: don’t tell me there’s nothing)

 
 
In summer I swim.

In the spring I remember how my dad said spring is the best time in the garden because everything is just starting, every bit of green is a gift, a surprise, a joy… unlike in summer when there’s just too much… everywhere, too much colour, too much muchness. He was right of course.

In winter I traipse a labyrinth in the snow.

But it’s this time of year, before winter, when it’s no longer really fall, when the leaves are mush but the snow hasn’t come yet, that it’s easy to think there’s nothing left for you to see in the garden.

You’d be wrong of course.

Because it’s only now that a certain sun becomes visible again after being hidden behind the foliage of a giant dogwood.

And another that you’d forgotten was even there, tucked into a cedar where you never look.

And how would you ever find the bluebird that fell from its branch on the burning bush, a bird you never see in summer through the green leaves or in the fall through the bright red ones but now in the naked season, and only if you walk close enough to think:  hey where’s that bluebird??  —there it is.

Every year you swear this moss is new.

And every year you are reminded at least once of something that that will grow next year for the first time.

Every year at this time you marvel at the structure of ferns and grasses and how some stay greener than others as they sleep.

And if not for this time of year would you think as often of the friend who loves to get hydrangeas from you to dry and use to decorate her xmas tree.

Would you notice ornaments?

Or see tiny footprints outside tiny doors?

Would you remember patriotic moose (not to mention extremely quiet mice)?

What blows your mind every year is how it’s all there all year round, buried in snow or hidden by show-offy leaves turning orange and gold, not to mention being upstaged all summer long by purples and blues, yellows, reds and pinks… oh my god, don’t even talk to me about reds and pinks… so needylook at me, look at me!

Those pinks. Such hams.

Fred excepted of course.

~