Sunday Confessional: tree no more

For years, a cherry tree flourished in a four feet by four feet space on the patio. It was lovely and we made pie with its fruit. The birds, bees, and we loved it. Then the tree became sick and we had to cut it down. Last summer, one volunteer sunflower grew in that space.

Sunflowers on patio. July 12, 2020.

This year, it’s a literal sunflower forest. I just took my camera out there to finally document the tangle of stalks and blooms. And I smiled the entire time. Here’s a tiny sampling of the happy flowers thriving there.

My confession? Right now I hardly miss our dear old cherry tree.

Happiness is

Dayliles make me happy. They’re cheery and vibrant. They intrigue from every angle.

Daylilies in my front yard. July 3, 2020.

Also? They’re a very low maintenance perennial. What’s not to love?

Poppy bee mine

I had poppy-envy yesterday as I walked the neighborhood. One yard was filled with happy orange poppies, bouncing in the breeze. Why hadn’t mine bloomed yet?

This morning, I looked out the window and saw two bursts of orange! And when I got closer with my camera, I saw the bees were also celebrating those cheery blooms.

Front yard. May 16, 2020.

Such a nice way to begin my weekend. Wishing everyone a blooming-good day!

The gift that keeps on giving

Allium blooming on slope. May 13, 2020.

One of my favorite aspects of spring is being surprised by what pokes through the soil. Years ago, my mother-in-law gifted me some allium and I’d forgotten all about it, possibly because it didn’t come up last year.

This year, though, I’m blessed with these lovely and intricate orbs. Bees love them, I love them.

Surprise!

Not yet, but soon

April 25, 2016.

I’m really, really hoping my iris bloom this year despite the various snowstorms and freezes. I really, really need the boost. Until then, I will bask in the glory of these beauties from nearly four years ago.

Come on iris, please do your thing!

Exuberance

Three years ago today, I arrived in Amsterdam. I was jetlagged and foggy in the head, but still remember the lift I got from the mounds of tulips blooming in a nearby park.

Amsterdam. April 28, 2017.

Such exuberant flowers, unruly in their passionate display. We should all live so boldly.

Making friends

Vinca. April 23, 2019.

Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.  ~ Georgie O’Keefe

In these days of social distancing, it’s vital we make friends wherever and whenever possible.

Hello, Vinca Minor. My name is Tracy. I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.

On the upswing

Gratitude!

Neighbor’s yard. April 1, 2020.

After 20 days of not feeling well, I’m regaining my health. Still have my morning cough episodes, but yesterday I walked the neighborhood (2.25 miles, yo!) and today did yard clean-up for three hours and then took another walk. I’m tired now, but not to-the-bone-fatigued. Whatever illness was dogging me, it’s on the way out. Woot! Woot! Woot!

To celebrate, here’s a beautiful little bouquet I photographed in my neighbor’s yard.

Take me away, lavender

Hidden bee in lavender. July 16, 2016.

We’re months away from lavender blooming in our yard, but just looking at this photo brings calm. And when I breathe deeply, I can almost smell the flowers.

Must remember to breathe . . .

Undiminished

Seventeen years ago, I went to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for a three-week session with Marilynne Robinson which was an all-around wonderful experience. She dispensed much wisdom, mostly about reading and writing, but also about life. And this morning, as I looked at the lilies I received from Zippy five days ago, I thought about something Marilynne said during one of our workshops:

People after the age of 23 realize that they’re in the iron fist of gravity and will collect diminishing returns.

At that time, I was 40-years-old and only heard her message on an intellectual level. The thing was, I didn’t feel very far removed from 23 years of age; my returns weren’t yet greatly diminished. After all, every morning I got up and ran fast along the river!

Today I’m feeling more akin to these lilies that, after five days in a vase, broke from their stems in the main bouquet and fell to the countertop. These lilies whose petals are fading and wilting. Lilies in the iron fist of gravity and time.

Flowers still fierce and beautiful in their own way.

Sedentary photography

This afternoon I was doing my usual thang, sitting in a patch of sunshine, when I noticed the lovely blooms on my Christmas Cactus. I hoisted myself up and went for the camera. Then I sat back down and snapped a few pics.

Christmas Cactus blooming on February 16, 2020.

Unfortunately, there was a hair on the camera’s mirror which clearly showed at the bottom of the lower bloom. So I cropped strategically to rid the photo of that distraction.

Sit-and-shoot. Crop-and-fix.
Works for me.

Letting go

Lilies letting go, Amsterdam. April 29, 2017.

I just returned home after my first Trager session in 5+ years. Let’s just say I’m waaaaay relaxed. Good thing I already took care of today’s must-do list because now I’m off to put on my jammie pants and melt onto the couch.

Just breathe

Blue Flax in raised patio bed. May 17, 2018.

Nothing profound, nothing insightful or educational.

Just me posting a blue flax, hoping the image brings a moment of calm in these very rough waters.

Thankful Thursday: mixed bag edition

October 7, 2019

Today I am thankful for:

  • The color purple which I wore to critique group dinner last evening after
    finishing my work-for-hire assignment in the afternoon.
  • A rousing hoop-dancing session this morning before the onset of flu this afternoon.
  • My space heater and oscillococcinum.

In defense of not living in the moment

Lilac bloom on May 17, 2018.

The thermometer currently reads 18 degrees. The sky is gray. It’s snowing and blowing, and is forecast to continue like that through tomorrow morning. I try to live in the moment, to be mindful and present in my life. But right now, in this moment, I’m looking ahead to spring and lilacs in bloom.

Fight me, Pema Chödrön.

Poppy pride

Many people welcome and celebrate autumn’s arrival, and I agree there’s much to be said for cooler temperatures. However, I’m not a fan of stuff dying off. I get that it has to happen, but what makes my heart soar is the new growth and bright colors after long, dark winters.

So today I take another look back at the poppies from my front yard. Look at all that glorious color and all that potential for many more blooms!

On this final day of September, I celebrate the exuberant poppy.

Substitute bloom

Purple Coneflowers are currently blooming in my garden, but this photo is from a year ago. Why? Because it’s currently 91 degrees and I don’t want to be outside taking pictures in the blindingly-bright, sweat-inducing heat.

Sometimes substitution is the best policy.

The specificity of an iris bloom

The more specific we are, the more universal something can become.
Life is in the details. If you generalize, it doesn’t resonate.
The specificity of it is what resonates.

~ Jacqueline Woodson

As I revise a young adult novel written years ago, I’m adding specific details in hopes of creating a resonance. May my story bloom as specifically and beautifully as this iris from my garden!