Posted tagged ‘dandelions’

“We are our choices.”

February 21, 2016

The house is colder than outside. After I got out of bed, I ran downstairs and turned up the heat. Making the coffee was first in my morning routine then I went outside for the papers and was surprised to find the air warm or warmish I suppose is a bit more accurate.

The trees are quiet. The breeze isn’t strong enough to sway the creaky branches of the scrub pines. On the way back to the house from getting the papers, I stopped at my front garden because I saw the most welcome surprises. Green tips are above the soil. I know one is a hyacinth, and I suspect the others are the crocus and the dafs. The bulbs know spring is coming.

Living in New England means to expect cold, bone-chilling cold sometimes, and snow, but it doesn’t make me long for Florida or any sunny climes. I can’t imagine being so excited by a green shoot if I lived where flowers always bloom.

When I was a kid, I thought dandelions were flowers which grew on the grass instead of in the garden. My mother always made a big deal of the bouquet of dandelions I gave her. She’d put them in a glass filled with water. I even remember the glass. It was one which held small shrimp in sauce. I have a couple my mother gave me. I use them for orange juice.

I can’t think of anyone I ever hated when I was growing up. Some kids deserved a punch in the nose, and I was happy to oblige, twice. I was never reluctant to step in and tell some bully to shut up or else, the same with name callers. I had a sense of fairness which was just there, a part of me. Where it came from I have no idea. My brother was a bully, but I didn’t know that until I was an adult. A former elementary school classmate of his told my sister not that long ago. We were all surprised. We never saw it, but I don’t find it difficult to believe.

We go through so much while we’re growing up and make all sorts of choices along the way which help decide who we’ll be. I’m still making those choices.

“What shall you do all your vacation?’, asked Amy. “I shall lie abed and do nothing”, replied Meg.”

July 10, 2014

Yesterday was a sweat producing day, a day for the air-conditioner which was on all afternoon and night, but I turned it off this morning though it is still a bit warm. It’s just that the mornings are so lovely I hate to miss them sitting behind closed doors and windows. Right now there is a little breeze from the window behind me, the birds are singing and the neighborhood is gloriously quiet as if I’m alone in the world. I like that feeling sometimes. Last night it rained, but I didn’t hear it. Today might reach 80˚ but it will drop to the 60’s tonight. Tomorrow’s forecast has the nighttime temperature at 59˚. That sounds delightful.

My energy comes in spurts sometimes dictated by my back. Yesterday my sole accomplishments were to re-set the flag holder and screw in the hook off the deck which holds a bird feeder. Both were victims of the wind. The bird feeder had been filled but it fell to the ground and was emptied. I’m thinking the spawns had a picnic. Now that the hook is fixed I’ll go and retrieve the items which fell off the deck and refill the feeder. I am already on my second load of laundry, and I have to go buy Gracie food and drop a few things off at the dump. That, for me, is quite the busy day.

My sisters used to give my mother dandelion bouquets. She’d act thrilled as if she had been given the rarest flowers. She’d put the bouquet in a jelly glass and then in the middle of the table. The dandelions were brilliant yellow and didn’t seem at all like a weed should be.

My father always got two weeks’ vacation, and he took them in the summer. Most of the time we didn’t go away as it was too expensive though I do remember the trip to the island in Maine and the Niagara falls trip, but that’s it; instead, we’d go places close to home. I remember going to the beach on weekdays when the traffic was light, and there were parking spaces near the water. We’d stay most of the day. A couple of nights we’d go to the drive-in. Sometimes we’d go to Maine for a weekend and stay at my father’s friend’s cottage. I always found that boring. The water was too cold, and there was little to do. The museum trips were my favorite. I remember standing in the Egyptian section at the MFA and marveling at how tall the sarcophagi were. I still get that feeling when I visit the MFA even now. Once during the two weeks we’d go out to dinner, a rare occasion for us. We’d go to Kitty’s where the food was cheap and plentiful. It never occurred to me that we didn’t have enough money to go away. I never felt deprived, and I loved being surprised by every day.

“Memory is the diary we all carry about with us.”

May 21, 2013

The day is cloudy and has a bit of a chill, a long sleeve shirt sort of day. Everything is really still and quiet. I like a day this way. Sun all the time makes for a dry lawn and garden while clouds all the time make for gloom so I’m happy with a mix of days. Yesterday was a perfectly lovely day so I don’t mind today’s clouds.

A chickadee is building a nest in one of my bird houses or at least I think so as I have seen her going in and out of the house which is a flamingo with swaying legs. It is pink as flamingos are and has a small opening, perfect for a chickadee. I’ll keep an eye.

Dandelions get a bum rap. They appear in the lawn and are dug up or summarily destroyed. They were the first flowers I ever gave my mother. Nothing so beautiful could possibly have been anything but a flower to me. Dandelions reminded me of the sun: round and bright yellow. My mother always took my gift, the bouquet of dandelions, with profuse thanks and put them in a vase in the middle of the table. She never saw them as weeds. They were a gift.

Before I visit my sister, I go up the hill to the house where, other than this house, I have lived the longest time. I know every part of that house and can close my eyes and see each room. The kitchen was small with only a little counter space, a corner which barely fit the table and chairs and a small stove on the same wall as the table. The fridge was beside the back door, my mother’s bugaboo. The door was wooden and painted green and in the summer had a screen instead of a storm door. My sisters, who played in the yard most summers, went out that back door which always slammed behind them. That drove my mother crazy. Her warning, “Don’t slam the door,” always seemed just a bit too late, drowned out by the sound of the slam. For some reason my mother and that door are a strong memory from that house.

I have this mind which seems to hold on to so many things though words and some names are beginning to escape me. I have to think long and hard to remember some of them. The other day I was trying to come up with Pierce Brosnan, don’t ask me why as I don’t remember, and I was with a friend who couldn’t remember either. I gave her hints: he was Remington Steele and James Bond. Neither one of us came up with his name. In the background, while we were talking, music from the mid 60’s was playing, and we knew every word. Once I told a friend how many traffic lights she would encounter on her route through Boston. I just closed my eyes and drove the route in my head. I remember odd things of little importance, but sometimes I forget why I am in the kitchen or I lose forever that small list I thought I’d memorized. Even mnemonics don’t help as much any more. I sometimes forget what they mean. I do, however, have a hold on so many past memories, long ago memories, the best memories like the dandelions and the back door.

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.”

March 24, 2013

What a bright, sunny day it is with the bluest of skies. Though still a bit chilly, only in the high 30’s, the sun makes it feel much warmer. The breeze is slight and only gently rocks the branches. The snow is just about gone. Today must be an apology of sorts from Mother Nature for the grayness of the past week.

This morning I watched a spawn of Satan be thwarted by my bird feeders. It tried all three sunflower feeders but got nothing except frustration. Its paw jabbed and jabbed inside the wires and still came back empty. Take that, you spawn of Satan!

I have high hopes. My back is getting better, my outlook on life is rosier, Easter is next week and baseball starts April 1st. Life is good.

When I was a little kid, small things gave me joy. Blowing puffy dandelions into the wind, catching fireflies, picking and eating blueberries or watching pollywogs at the swamp were the best ways to spend part of a summer day. Getting dirty while doing it was a bonus. I’d lie on my stomach and look into the water at the edge of the swamp because that’s where the pollywogs first appeared. We’d go and see them every couple of days and watch them grow. They were the tiniest black specks at first darting so quickly I could almost miss them but then came the arms and legs, and they were easy to see. When they were full-grown, they just disappeared, moved on to somewhere else in the swamp, probably in the back among the trees and bushes where we seldom went.

That swamp was my favorite of all places when I was young. It had a wide open area in the front where we watched the pollywogs in spring and where we’d ice skate in the winter. Small channels on both sides led away from the wide front. In the summer these channels were bordered by overgrown bushes and trees growing on what we thought of as islands. Exploring into the swamp meant jumping from island to island, getting scratched by the briers and getting wet feet if you weren’t careful, but at least once every summer we’d explore as far as we could. In the winter it was easy. The channels froze and the trees and bushes were bare. We walk and follow the channels as far as they went holding on to limps to keep from slipping and falling. We’d get on our hands and knees to look into the ice. It was like looking at a tiny world. The ice was so clear we could see all the dead leaves, the vines and the limbs of trees which had dipped into the water and been frozen. I can still see it all in my mind’s eye. I thought it was beautiful.

“Autumn arrives in the early morning, but spring at the close of a winter day.”

February 28, 2012

Pseudo winter is the best I can call this. Today it is already 46° though tonight will be more typically winter, in the 20’s, but I don’t care. Night always finds me cozy and warm and at home. The weatherman says snow later in the week and predicts the cape will get less than an inch before the snow turns to rain. Boston may get more snow than we will but right now it may also have a new record for the least amount of snow as little more than 7 inches has fallen so far this whole winter, but March sometimes surprises us with a snow storm or two.

My garden is awash with green shoots, and the daffodil buds are prominent: there are four now. Last fall I planted all sorts of bulbs, and I don’t remember what is where on purpose. I want surprise when the flowers bloom and color returns to my garden.

Spring officially arrives on March 20th, and that is cause for celebration. My friends and I will go to the beach to see the sunrise on that first spring morning. Usually it is freezing. We sit in our beach chairs as if it were summer, but we wear winter hats and coats and wrap blankets around us as we wait and watch for the sky to lighten. The first beams appear then the top of the sun. We watch as more and more of the sun appears over the jetty. When morning has finally broken, we applaud and give a welcome to spring then we run for the warmth of the car. We go out for breakfast and toast the arrival of spring.

My mother was always surprised and wonderfully grateful when we gave her our bouquets, the dandelions picked off the lawn. She’d gush a bit, take our gifts and put them in a glass, usually a jelly glass, and then in the center of the table. We always thought they were the most beautiful yellow flowers ever, and I still think of that every time I see a dandelion. In my memory they are gifts.

May 15, 2010