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