This morning my phone told me it was –10 degrees outside which would explain the frost and ice on the insides of the bedroom window. It eventually got a little warmer, but was still so cold that when Zippy went out for a few minutes to shovel, he lost feeling in his fingers. I haven’t gone outside today and am exceedingly grateful I had the luxury to make that decision.
In case you’re also enduring brutally cold temperatures, here’s a photo from July 2020 when I crawled beneath the day lilies as they reached for the warm, blue sky:
I look forward to seeing those cheery flowers again.
After another burst of pain earlier this week, I finally made an appointment to have my finger checked out. Today, the orthopedic doctor was pleased the tendon seems stable and believes the pain is only due to inflammation that can’t settle down. She offered a steroid injection and, while I’m no fan of sharp needles, I said YES, PLEASE!
We’re hoping that shot is a one-off and that my left hand will fully recover. I’ve currently got my two fingers taped together and will do so for the next few days, but then the tape comes off and I (hopefully) will resume my regularly scheduled life and activities (that will include gardening!)
May 22, 2020
Until then, I’m going to follow the lead of this butterfly and tread lightly.
It’s good I have photographic proof of flowers that bloomed in my garden over the past two Mays, because they’ll have a hard time showing up this year in my weed and grass-choked beds.
May 2, 2020
For the past month or so, I’ve either had to wear a splint on my left-hand ring finger or tape that finger to the middle finger in order to immobilize it. I strained the tendons badly (at least, that’s what I’m guessing) while trying to rotate our compost tumbler that sits on casters (the tumbler we built in order for me to know how to write a how-to book for young readers) and so haven’t done any bed clean-up in front this spring. One-handed gardening is above my pay grade.
As we returned from a walk just now, I averted my gaze from our front yard. Poor little perennials, struggling to push through the dead and mess I can’t remove. Zippy has no time or energy for yard work because he’s working hard to finish the van build and the quotes we received from clean-up businesses were very high, so the mess will remain.
Lucky for me, vinca is a hardy little plant.
May 7, 2021
It always finds a way to make its presence known.
A little reminder to focus on the tiny, intricate miracles all around us.
September 12, 2020
This sedum isn’t blooming right now and I doubt many bees are currently buzzing in my yard, but . . . someday soon. In the meanwhile, I can gaze upon this image and will my mind and system into calm. *deep breaths* Maybe it can do the same for you. 💚
I won’t be forced to commit a crime against the new neighbors who let their Hummer idle for a minimum of ten minutes every weekday morning!
Day lilies exploding like fireworks. July 3, 2020
Their kids just came over to sell us chocolate for a school fundraiser and in the ensuring conversation with their dad, we learned they’re only renting that house for two months. Hooray!
I can handle two months of roaring, rumbling, exhaust-spewing activity across the street. I think. And if not, I will initiate a conversation. That conversation may or may not be well-received, but it’s not gonna be a forever kind of relationship, so . . . oh well.
Right now I’m just celebrating the fact I won’t always live across the street from people who believe it makes sense to drive their kids to school in a gas-guzzling assault vehicle. Oh, happy day.
Today I took advantage of the last day of warm weather before the coming week of frigid temperatures and spent time outside cleaning flower beds. The last several years I’ve kinda been on a gardening strike and let things run wild. That laziness plus the neighbors’ enormous, beautiful pine trees that loom over our yard, distributing tons of boughs, needles, and pine cones, resulted in quite the mess.
In fact, as I excavated the debris I came across something I’d temporarily forgotten was there: our cat Lebowski‘s grave marker. I’d tried in vain to locate it in January when Zebu was here. Even though I knew where it was, I couldn’t find it beneath the layers of needles and cones. That saddened and made me feel a bit disloyal to my feline friend. So when my hand brushed against the slab of flagstone this afternoon, I experienced a moment of confusion followed by a flood of memories.
Lebowski was a wonderful cat.
The Dude in June of 2009
This photo is a bit misleading because he was an indoor cat although I let him outside with me now and again for supervised outings (and he spent his final months outside with me as much as possible). What isn’t misleading about this photo is that The Dude was a very large fellow.
I’m grateful to have located his grave again. Unfortunately, the words and dates we’d inscribed on the flagstone have worn away, but the marker is now in full sight and I intend to keep it that way. In honor of our magnificent Lebowski, temporarily lost and now found again.
When everything feels cruel and horrific, I lean on natural beauty. This photo isn’t especially special, but gazing upon these coneflowers that bloomed in my garden brings me a moment of inner peace.
July 16, 2020
Maybe it can do the same for you.
It’s gray and gloomy today, belying the unseasonably warm weather (which refuses to give us a drop of much-needed moisture!), so I went in search of a cheery image to brighten the day. I selected a photo of sedum that’d bloomed in the front yard last summer.
June 10, 2021
I then went in search of a quote to accompany my photo, but was unsuccessful. Instead, I learned that sedum roofs are quite popular in other parts of the world. Sedum has a very shallow root system and not only that, “The metabolism of Sedum differs from other plants. At night, carbon dioxide is absorbed through the stomata and converted into malic acid. During the day, under the influence of sunlight, the malic acid is decomposed and photosynthesis takes place. The stomata in the leaves are only open at night. During the hot and dry day, moisture loss is minimized.” How cool is that?! And how beautiful is this roof?
My new dream is to live in a little cottage covered by a sedum roof.
October 15, 2021
The final harvest
a patty pan squash tableau
next stop the stew pot
August 22, 2021
I recently bemoaned the lack of blooming iris in my gardens, wondering how others in the neighborhood managed their bumper crops of iris. I then realized I wasn’t alone. Yes, there were a couple gardens absolutely filled with iris, but the majority of us had clumps of iris in which only one or two stalks had buds/blooms. Then I remembered our early freeze last fall and the unusual amounts of moisture this spring. Maybe it wasn’t negligent gardening practices that led to my dearth of iris blooms? Whatever the reason, I’m grateful for this flower.
June 10, 2021
Solidarity with late bloomers, yo!
June 10, 2021
Once upon a time
two poppies did bloom fiercely
dead ever after
May 24, 2021
I’m starting to see iris in full bloom around the neighborhood. One home has two banks of deep purple irises which are absolutely stunning and another front yard is filled with white iris blooming.
My garden? A grand total of four potential iris blooms in the front and back gardens. What the hell? (I’m so grumpy I’m not even going to attempt taking another photo that at least pretends to be in focus).
And the indignities don’t end with the iris. I passed a yard today that was ablaze with blooming allium. I just checked on my plants and this is what’s happening here:
One puny, non-spherical bloom. Not only that, it’s really short. Again, what the hell?
It’s gray and gloomy out my window, as it’s been for much of the past several days. But I just finished writing for the day and am treating myself to these cheery tulips which warm my soul. They can almost pass for a row of little, petaled suns.
May 11, 2021
Here’s hoping for blue skies tomorrow, even if only for a few minutes. Until then, I have my sunshine-y tulips.
I’ve been struggling mightily with a family-of-origin issue and a while back reached out to the therapist I’d worked with years ago. Her client roster was full so I was put on a wait-list. Well, the wait is over. I’m both grateful and anxious she can now fit me into her schedule. My first appointment is in a few minutes and my insides are fluttering.
September 12, 2020
I know I need to do the work in order to move ahead. That doesn’t stop me from wishing for a magic wand that could make everything all better.
You probably know that echinacea and its antioxidants are good for our physical health. It’s a widely-used herb with many applications.
Purple Coneflower aka echinacea. July 16, 2020.
What you might not know is that these vibrant plants are also what the doctor prescribes for cold, gray days. Guess you could say that echinacea is also an antigloom.
You heard it here first.
I miss the bees and am looking forward to when they return to perform their vital work in my yard. Here’s a little sample of what’s in store for the coming months:
August 4, 2020
Yesterday (March 7!), Zippy removed the lights from the locust tree in our front yard. We’d stopped turning them on several weeks ago but left them wrapped around the trunk. I could lie and say it was because the bulbs provided bits of much-needed color in the brown/gray landscape. Really, it’s because we procrastinate. Either way, now that the holiday lights are gone, I’m ready for spring. Bring on the bees and blooms!
It’s a gray day here and the high will be 23 degrees colder than yesterday.
Purple Coneflowers. July 16, 2020
I’m beneath a blanket on the couch, reading Bryan Stevenson’s JUST MERCY: A Story of Justice and Redemption. It began as research for my work-in-progress, but I’m grateful my project brought me to this book. It’s fierce and tender, all at once. Both rage-inducing and strangely calming** in its depiction of humanity at its worst and best.
Change is possible. Spring is on its way. And today, I am grateful for both those truths.
(** ETA when I wrote about the calming aspect of this book, I was in opening chapters. Having read for much of day, I have to admit there’s more content that enrages rather than soothes. We are a messed up and deeply racist society.)
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,
One clover, and a bee.
The revery alone will do,
If bees are few. ~ Emily Dickinson
July 18, 2019
While this photo is of a bee and lavender (not clover) in my yard (rather than the prairie), the image still induces a reverie.
May this bold, beautiful bloom brighten your day, as well.
Daylily, July 19, 2019
Backyard garden. August 12, 2020
When we try to pick out anything by itself,
we find it hitched to everything else in the universe. ~ John Muir
May 29, 2019
This iris bloomed in my garden not quite two years ago, beautiful despite being battered by the elements.
Iris are hardy flowers and I look forward to seeing this one bloom again this coming spring.
Because I’m an introvert, I’m maybe better equipped for this quarantine than others. But even though I recharge my batteries by being alone, that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave the company of others. And today, I’m missing my friends of the Sunrise Movement.
Phlox. August 6, 2020.
The entire time I fought alongside them, I was mindful of my very privileged position as a young-at-heart welcomed into the ranks of passionate young people fighting for a livable future. I was also completely unprepared for how quickly that situation could shift. I had no idea that in the very near future I wouldn’t see them regularly at hub meetings, trainings, art builds, and actions. While I didn’t take any of it for granted, it never occurred to me there’d come a time in which we wouldn’t trade smiles across a room and share hugs. I’m writing this with tears in my eyes and a hole in my heart. In addition to the obvious, this pandemic and our government’s botched response has destroyed so much. It hasn’t stopped Sunrise Colorado or those friendships, but it’s completely altered the landscape of each. Today I’m grateful for what we had and mourning all we’ve lost.