Posts Tagged ‘reflections’

The wheel of the year turns, and it’s time to admire other gardens…

DSC_0531We quite like the drive over to Longwood, one of the old DuPont estates [better living through chemistry, etc., etc….]. The new meadow area has grown in beautifully since our visit last fall, and the restored lily ponds were gleaming in the light of late afternoon.  Even if I do put in a small pond in our meadow, I’ll never be growing specimens like these!

DSC_0453We got a good five miles of hiking and strolling together before heading back to the car and visiting one of our old haunts for dinner.

DSC_0206No, not that kind of haunt.  We stay firmly on this side of the veil, even at this time of year…

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“And if you want me
You can find me
Left of center
Wondering about you…” — Suzanne Vega

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Courtesy of Google image search; all photo copyrights assuredly belong to other people. The wrens are suspicious of this whole arrangement.

Wrens are not especially subtle about their curiousity.  They want to know, they want you to know that they want to know, and, further, they want you to know that they think you are holding out on them.

Other birds certainly make commentary — the catbird would like to know why, the robins are quite interested in the grubs and other things that creepeth and crawleth in the wake of a gardener’s efforts, and the titmice are engaged in loud and fluttery debates over who is the Greyest, who is the Fluffiest, who is the very Finest, Flappiest, Screechiest titmouse of them all?

Wrens may want to announce news — their presence, their beautiful nestlings that you should admire and acclaim but NOT look at — and they will go on with territorial songs for hours.  But — and maybe this has something to do with the times of year I see them, or the melancholy that sometimes coincides — it strikes me that they also want to be remembered at some indeterminate time in the future.  As if, and this is ridiculous, as there are (as far as I know) no heirloom maps I need translated at midnight, nor mountain treasures to unlock, they think they might be useful to me somewhere down the line.

“We are wrens. We are legion.  Remember us now and in your time of trial…”

On the other hand, they do like knowing, much as I do.  Maybe at some point we will have something more detailed to say to each other…

This image of wrens is my responsibility. The wrens are not convinced I have taken that seriously enough….

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I’ve already seen snow this season, most inconveniently.  Wove my car around telephone and electric wires bowed down by snapped tree limbs still dressed in their autumn best. Scooped up family history and plunked it elsewhere, much as I’ve dug out the tropical plants and repotted them for indoor living during the winter season.  You can’t stay there — it’s not compatible with your biology.  Your home is somewhere else now.  Learn to like the other side of the glass.

Those transitions were expected.  And given that the holidays of endings and new beginnings were rolling around, I had some other commemorations on my mind.

However — I wasn’t expecting to lose a friend I’d only been talking to days before. Yes, his voice had been labored during our last few conversations; he insisted it was a touch of bronchitis…yes there were other health issues that probably meant four-score and ten were unlikely. But I expected to be kvetching with him about academia, politics, and fine food for many years to come. He was someone I could disagree with, test ideas against, and along the way we could each see a bit more of why someone would hold opposing views.  People like that are so very valuable — and unfortunately it’s increasingly easy to never meet them, since so many of us gravitate to places where our ideas are affirmed rather than respectfully challenged.  To be honest, I didn’t meet him on purpose — his presence in my life was a gift from a friend of mine from graduate school, who, to bring the circle around, gave me the news yesterday evening.  Part of me hoped it was some elaborate Halloween prank, but the obit has just posted….

Travel well, William.  You have earned your rest.

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Back before my Beloved and I were courting, I was house-sitting at a place where there were some fairly traumatized animals. Their people had gone away, and the first house-sitter turned out to be a bit [!] more flighty than had originally been anticipated….so the animals were lonely, neglected, having accidents, getting into fights with neighborhood bullies, and generally not coping well.

The first night I was taking over the task, I came to the house, and Word came along to share a meal — one that we’d prepare in the kitchen and eat in the dining room. It was a fairly mundane meal; I can’t exactly recall what we had. [There was certainly garlic involved!]

But the animals were very interested. People had not been using the kitchen for months. People had not come in at this time of day for a long time. So we were sniffed and strictly supervised. No begging, but lots of tail wagging, purring, and scampering from one room to the next, following us around.

People were in the kitchen, chopping and stirring, and moving through the rooms. People were stopping to praise and pet the animals. People were making sure there was water and food for the animals before serving themselves food.

I started a fire in the firebox and the animals soon curled up in their accustomed sleeping spots near the fireplace or on the couches. The message I got was: “You aren’t our people, but you are normal people!”

It was a rather restful evening for everyone, I think.

Tonight, I don’t think I’ll fire up the pellet stove [it needs to be cleaned out first, and checked by a sweep], but I might open the Beaujolais, and my Beloved and I can enjoy our meal [then I have to go grade papers…]

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