Caught Between

Everything makes me feel nostalgic nowadays. For days of climbing trees, of barbies with my best friend, for embarrassment over naked Santa (what? you didn't have family that were naturists?). My Gram has been gone so long, that she has merged almost completely in my mind with the Grandmother from the old Garfield's Christmas special. She had many things in common with her anyway, but now I can't tell the difference.

I want countryside, maples in a blaze of red, and green green green so lush around me I can feel it without even having to touch. I even look back at March, and wish I knew then what I knew now... how differently I would have started things.

When I'm not feeling nostalgic, I'm ... what even is the opposite? wistful for what's ahead, and may in fact never exist? I long so entirely for a world that might not even come to pass, that I miss it. I weep for the house and the yard, for gardens in a riot of flowers and plants. For moments of quiet and teaching friends in a home studio. For traveling to the ancestral land of Wales that holds so very much of my heart. I pine for choices so very much out of my current control.

What does it say about our current days when I can't seem to escape the nets of past or future?


As Inspired by Braiding Sweetgrass

When I was born, my parent's brought home my placenta and buried it under a lilac bush in our backyard. You could say after that I was raised by flowers, intimately connected to lilacs. Spring would arrive and my Mom would plant. It was her haven, and I would walk among the flowers she lovingly placed in the earth, surrounded the their scent. Flowers still feel like home, the look of them, the feel of them. Fingers in dirt roots me down and I'm back in my childhood yard, the forsythias a riot of yellow as glowing as the afternoon sun.

Like a young child called to pick up every shiny rock, when I'm walking I'm called to come in close to each flower I pass. While I have my favorites, I can't seem to resist inspecting every little bud, their rainbow of colors so pleasing to my eye. They have a voice and a language all their own, and its a familiar crescendo when the rest of life feels like an unfamiliar symphony. Everything has a voice, and when I moved to Colorado from Pennsylvania, it felt like shifting into a new language that I'd only even seen on paper and never heard spoken before. It took me 4 years to learn to speak Colorado, and 3 months of a pandemic to make me feel like I lost my new language.

My one constant though, is the flowers. Their's is a language that flows in my veins, the one I dream in. My exuberance feels like the bright orange of a tiger lily, the ones that naturally lined the dirt roads leading to my parent's house. Once I was old enough, I would walk by them, and gently run my hands across their stems to send them waving in my self-created breeze. On special days (according to the calendar, or just according to us), my Dad and I might stop and take a small handful to surprise my Mom with.

I plant my own inadequate garden now, in pots on my apartment balcony, the flowers in defiance of Colorado "spring." A rebellion of color and texture, placed into soil with a prayer to their being able to withstand the see-sawing temperatures, the possibility of hail, the intense winds that can come in the weeks that follow. When they make it, those flowers help rally me. Together we can withstand. I'm so grateful to have been raised by flowers.


Bring the Camping Inside

Gwen's Girl Scout year obviously got cut short. They haven't met in person since March, and they only started meeting virtually about a month ago. They were so sad to have to miss out on their end of the year camping, but decided to do a zoom camp out instead. Obviously it wasn't the same, but I appreciate them making the best of the situation. Girls were invited to camp in either their back yard, or inside somewhere. We made a blanket tent in the living room, since we don't have yard space.

They also dropped off backs of stuff on each girl's doorstep, so that they could all do the same fun camping activities. I loved the creativity of using different sized treats to teach them how to properly build a campfire (pretzel rods for logs, pretzel sticks for sticks, potato sticks for kindling, etc).

They also dropped off stuff to make box ovens, and s'mores fire pits.

Then they stayed up on zoom until 10pm playing games and telling stories.

It obviously wasn't the same, but listening to Gwen belly laugh from her blanket tent was so satisfying. Quarantine has been hard on her. We've finally lightened up our own restrictions to allow her to play outside with friends, but we still ask her to distance, and she misses the normality of certain interactions. I'm so glad her troop stepped up to create this next best scenario.