delicate

Garden 1

I took these pictures at the garden on Saturday. The routine was the same, the camera the same, the sidewalks the same, the company the same. It’s only me that’s changed. I’m different, and finding a way to say that is difficult.

Garden 26

In late August I expect to see the towering tropical plants, and they are all there, beds of flowers several feet taller than my head. But I’m surprised at how delicate some of the other flowers are, tucked into small corners of pocket gardens.

Garden 25

It seems like the sun and the heat should do them in, they should be more comfortable in cooler weather with long afternoons of gentle rain and spring breezes.

Garden 22

We study the tightly coiled buds on each plant alongside their flowers, released. It hardly seems real to us, how a flower can emerge from that space and look unwrinkled or bruised or mussed.

Garden 2

Some are on the verge of opening, and they look like fragile balloons at a party. Maybe they are filled with candies and treats that will fall to the ground once opened. The girls wonder if a passing bee’s stinger might release them ahead of schedule.

Garden 13

There are long stretches of the walk that are lined with a million tiny flowers. The girls are long gone, ahead of me and not quiet, so I have some time to sit in my own head. Their voices dodge the lush greenery and occasionally bounce back to me.

Garden 16

They’ve found the crown jewel of our visit, these vibrant colored flowers in four stages of opening across this hanging basket. Pink petals unfurl and bend gracefully backwards, then slowly, a purple cylinder emerges before sending out “tentacles” (as the girls call them), one by one. We scanned hundreds of them, looking for an example that might show the purple unfolding a little more, but found none. We’ll check again on Wednesday, it might not be time yet.

Garden 9

F collects a dozen spent blooms from the sidewalk and carries them on the overturned lid of my coffee cup like a most valuable treasure.

Garden 8

She only sets them down to take a photo with the raccoon because he’s now the perfect height to love her back.

Garden 14

We finish our walk, and I tuck my camera back into its case until the afternoon when I’ll move the photos to my computer and sort them into a representation of the morning, but also a story if I can.

Garden 11

I arrange them the way that I want to, but it’s lunch time and I’m hungry. Everyone’s in the house now, and busy. I should be content, but I’m not. The afternoon spirals out of control and I cannot resurface.

Garden 3

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I’ve been thinking about it for awhile. I thought about it some more in the garden, and even more when I returned back home and sat down at the computer.

Garden 4

When I started writing here I had a focus – it carried on the documentation of our old house project that we had started on a blogging platform that was expiring. The new platform was a lot more user friendly, and so I expanded it a bit and included photographs and stories from E’s preschool years. The grandparents loved it.

Garden 15

Over time I grew to enjoy the practice of writing – sitting down several times a week to get my thoughts out of my head. I was never consistent at keeping a journal, although I wanted to be. Blogging was easier for me to come back to each day. I missed it when I was busy and didn’t have the time to write. I still read back in time and marvel at how long ago it feels. I forget about the crazy things I’ve tackled, and those reminders make my day.

Garden 12

It is not as easy for me to write these days. I start and stop a lot. I don’t have a central focus anymore – I write about a lot of things, but nothing of real consequence. I’ve tried to create schedules for myself, tried to circle back to all those subjects that have brought you in along the way.

Garden 18

I’m at a point where I can only write about the things that bring me joy. Joy might even be too strong a word, maybe what I really mean is comfort, stability, strength. Those early years were more manic – our lives felt like content machines, although we never consciously lived our life for writing prompts. The words wrote themselves, we photographed everything. We were writing a good story.

Garden 17

Now I work at balance, all the time balance. I’ve found a few things I’m good at, and a few other things I’m not necessarily good at but that I can work at. And for the most part they keep things running smoothly. But by their very nature they are repetitive. I have nothing left to say about them, other than they work for me and I have to work for me.

Garden 20

I know better than to make rash decisions, particularly during times of transition. But I wanted to let you know where I am, and how much I’ve appreciated your presence on the other side of this screen. I’ve never had any desire to be the most popular person in the room, but I also don’t want to be the dullest. I have some work to do, and it’s quiet work. The words just aren’t there, and I’m sorry.

Garden 24

admiring: Design*Sponge Essay Contest

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If you haven’t been reading along this week at Design*Sponge, then I highly recommend you find some time to. While the regular staff takes a week off from the blog, they are featuring essays on the topic of “home” that were submitted by readers. When they initially called for submissions, I fully intended to submit. But the deadline rolled around before I remembered to do it. The essays are touching and sweet and they all center around my very favorite thing to write about. I find pieces of my own story and my own words in many of them.

If I had written an essay, I’m not exactly sure what direction I would have gone in. But here is one of my favorite essays on home, and stuff, and laundry.

wednesday morning in the garden

Garden 26

This was our first school morning venture to the garden since spring. Our time is a little compressed this year because E’s school has a later start, but only by a few minutes. We managed to make a nice leisurely loop without being too rushed in the end.

Garden 25 Garden 22

I realized that I haven’t posted anything since my last garden walk – I should get on that. I’ve been in a bit of a lull, I guess. What do I do with these days? Home, work, cook, exercise, read, play, repeat. My draft posts folder is laughing at me. Topics I’ve started and not finished: the addition progress, sectionals, first day of school photos, Homer’s Odyssey, prosciutto wrapped figs, blue paint, thoughts on fifteen years of marriage. And someone asked me if I ever make frozen pizza for dinner. I’m sure there are some words on that too.

Instead, I have flowers.

Garden 23 Garden 24

F ate breakfast before we left, brought a banana for the commute, and then downed a slice of banana bread from the cafe before declaring that she was starving on the way back to school. I can’t keep my children in clothes. (Or shoes.) It’s killing me. E was only two inches behind me in July. I measured her on Saturday and it’s an inch and a half. She’s closing in.

We’re picking up a bin of hand me down’s in a few weeks for F, but last weekend I bought her a couple of transitional tops to go with her legging collection. She rarely gets to shop for clothes, or try on anything in a store, so this was a special treat. I wanted to take her photo next to these gorgeous plants, but she hopped up onto the fountain and posed like it was her job. So it was a quiet morning for a walk, with a fair sprinkling of sass that she always brings along.

Garden 21

Happy Wednesday. Man, it’s a pretty one here.