31 May, 2012

Iris, out of focus

It is so insightful that when you get too close to something with an iPhone it is out of focus and the background is easier to see. It's a subtle reminder to step back and look at the bigger picture without becoming overly focused on the details. Real life is like that idea and I can never be reminded of it too often. Not that I have serious memory loss, I just have conventional reality and my home culture saying "look at this!" every few minute there is something so distracting and interesting grab our attention and like many of us I am easily distracted. I worked in the garden, as a kind soul, a master gardener, had just this morning gifted me with lilies that need to be planted 5 minutes ago. This deep purple iris was looking over my shoulder as I removed an overgrowth of water sucking phlox and bluebells which had taken over an area I had planted with something shy, and non-invasive like delphinium. They have all but disappeared and think it would just take a moment of my time I grabbed the shovel and began removing the phlox. Two hours later it was deep dusk and I could barely see as I planted the lilies in the rich, newly vacated soil. Now my anterior deltoids are screaming and I still haven't watered the new foster plants. I can barely see the purple Japanese iris and I am exhausted after a full day of work and errands. I promise myself that I will get up early to water the transplants,  I give the pots of tomatoes waiting to be thinned and forget to harvest the lettuce as I head for people food and soap, in the reverse order. It is the last day of May 2012 and it is with wistful sadness that I say good by watching the fairy lights glow like fireflies. My kids act like I'm cra-cra when I talk about the plants talking to me. And of course they don't speak English/American! But they definitely will communicate with anyone willing to listen. My daughter, who is too smart to know any better says I am simply projecting, personifying and that it's not true at all: the bog doesn't care if I visit or not. She is something of a pragmatist in spite of the fact she describes herself as a pagan, a shamanist, and pays homage to "the ancestors" without ever having an awareness of who are those ancestors, when push comes to shove? they are not separate from us that they need to be somehow "re-membered"... they live in our flesh. Top of the list for tomorrow: water new plants.....

30 May, 2012

pregnant martagon

The martagons like their new home so much that they had babies. Where last year I planted 3 orphans I now have 12. It is amazing to me in spite of the fact that other plants, some consider weeds, have also propagated in the same semi shade area. I just did not expect that something so beautiful would also take over the little garden space in my back yard. As I watch the plant prepare to flower I am awed by the process. And it is one of the happy places I visit when my stress hormones get a little higher than is comfortable for me. The benefits of keeping the stress hormones in check are many and all positive as far as I am concerned. It is all too easy for me to fall into my old victim mentality and then feel the stress hormones associated with the pattern come up again. It is like an addiction and as I wait for the cloud to pass I make an honest attempt to shift my focus to a happier place, a place I feel safe and nurtured. Photos are definitely helpful.

29 May, 2012


It was a cold and snowy March when I boarded a plane for London to visit my daughter and her boyfriend. I planned to spend time at Kew garden stalking the fox that had befriended my daughter and made her smile in spite of other disappointments she found in the UK. She met me at Heathrow, smiling and with a plan for dealing with jet lag. We were just a few tube stops from Kew and so after a short ride we made our way to a tea shop and ordered a proper English tea. It felt like we had been separated for years rather than months and she had lost a noticeable amount of weight due to her financial challenges. I planned to order without restraint and eat only as much as I wanted packing the unfinished portions "to go." We came back again to Kew and spent the entire day in the gardens leisurely searching for the fox from the pictures she had sent me. 

25 May, 2012


Peonies and yellow roses are so perfect together. What a lovely bridal bouquet.

24 May, 2012

post-wedding euphoria

The wedding has started to fade into the background. The last out of town guests have flown away and my countertops have been degreased and shined with Mrs Meyer'sbasil  spray cleaner leaving the whole space therapeutically ready for something new to be born. The last chafing dish has been returned and the last catering bill settled. Life has returned to a certain equilibrium, not the same, but balanced in a new and different way than before the vows were spoken. We talk about unconditional love but it takes a long time and much experience before we realize what that means. And doesn't mean. Bottom line it doesn't mean you get to hit me or our kids. You don't get to use them emotionally to make yourself feel more powerful by undermining their dreams and their self esteem. It doesn't mean you get to walk them down the aisle due to some kind of propietory biological connection which you have neglected to honor, day after day for years. Unconditional love can only happen for us from a distance now due to your erratic behavior and empty promises.

23 May, 2012


Her Mom walked her slowly down the stairs knowing that it was their last time in this particular relationship. It seemed like such a brief distance this space separating them from her future partner. Surrounded by a few close friends and relatives, with her Grandfather waiting at the bottom of the stairs. Divorced twice, her Mom had no illusions about the obstacles that waited for two people building a life together. The fragrance of Korean lilacs filled the air as the bridegroom waited with his family. As they descended her Mom whispered her name. Without turning her head, the bride said "what!"Without making taking their eyes from the scene in the garden below them, the mother of the bride simply paused for a moment and said, "I love you." 
Tears rolled slowly down their faces as her elderly Grandfather took her other arm and escorted her around the circle of bricks to where her groom waited.  Her brother officiated the ceremony and they repeated their vows following his lead. As they made their way up the stairs they left the garden as husband and wife, changed yet somehow still the same. Filled with the sweetness of their hopeful promises he led her through the other gardens, heavy with the fragrances of the peonies blooming on either side of the path. Surrounded by loving friends and devoted family they were held in a cloud of wishes for all the best, for triumph and success in discovering new aspects of their lives together without losing sight of their dreams.

22 May, 2012

3rd reading: On Marriage

      Then Almitra spoke again and said, "And what of Marriage, master?" 
      And he answered saying: 
      You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. 
      You shall be together when white wings of death scatter your days. 
      Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. 
      But let there be spaces in your togetherness, 
      And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. 
      Love one another but make not a bond of love: 
      Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. 
      Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup. 
      Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. 
      Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, 
      Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. 
      Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping. 
      For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. 
      And stand together, yet not too near together: 
      For the pillars of the temple stand apart, 
      And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow. 

2nd reading: On Love

Kahlil Gibran 

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden. 

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth. 

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast. 

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart. 

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love. 

When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart," but rather, "I am in the heart of God."
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course. 

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

1st reading: Looking for your Face

From the beginning of my life
I have been looking for your face
but today I have seen it
Today I have seen
the charm, the beauty,
the unfathomable grace
of the face
that I was looking for
Today I have found you
and those who laughed
and scorned me yesterday
are sorry that they were not looking
as I did
I am bewildered by the magnificence
of your beauty
and wish to see you
with a hundred eyes
My heart has burned with passion
and has searched forever
for this wondrous beauty
that I now behold
I am ashamed
to call this love human
and afraid of God
to call it divine
Your fragrant breath
like the morning breeze
has come to the stillness of the garden
You have breathed new life into me
I have become your sunshine
and also your shadow
My soul is screaming in ecstasy
Every fiber of my being
is in love with you
Your effulgence
has lit a fire in my heart
for me
the earth and sky
My arrow of love
has arrived at the target
I am in the house of mercy
and my heart
is a place of prayer

Wedding cake

Through all the preparations I wonder what was my bottom line. At a certain point I realized: cake and champagne. So I focused on those two aspects of the celebration and it worked out beautifully. Of course the whole day and the preparations leading up to the event were quite lovely, but the cake and the Chandon were my "carrot, so to speak. They kept me grounded, centered and focused in the moments that I began to digress or over commit.