Tap lightly at my kitchen door...
So much time has passed since I last wrote or answered your e-mails, but I have been tucked away in bed and recuperating for the past few days. I am just sitting up and checking e-mails and a stack of real mails, and for the first time in nearly a week I just padded outside to visit my sweet little garden.
I remember that when I gave birth to my son Noah I experienced the same kind of fresh awakening that I felt today. I had been in the hospital for a few days...and we all know how dull a hospital room can be. When I got home and walked into my garden and colorful house I felt like I was seeing things for the first time. That is how I felt today. Fresh-eyed, although they're still swollen almost shut, but eyes that really saw all the life and color everywhere.
This day reminded me of a portion of a Theodore Roethke poem I have treasured for many years.
Many arrivals make us live; the tree becoming
Green, a bird tipping the topmost bough,
A seed pushing itself beyond itself,
The mole making its way through darkest ground...
My garden greeted and reassured me with its powerful and comforting thrust of life. Even though yours may be sleeping beneath a mantle of snow, it is there, awaiting the first warmth of spring sunlight, and the touch of your gardener-hand.
The hollyhocks dance on their stems.
My fuchsia flowered gooseberry is in bloom and the hummers love it. They not only like the nectar, but they often build their nests on the spiny branches, perhaps these spines deter some of their predators.
A long hedge of jade plant is in full bloom and thronged with bees. These flowers are tiny stars, just slightly larger than a honeybee.
I haven't been able to bend over for days, so when I knelt over this patch of dianthus I was shocked by their vibrant color and their piercing clove aroma. Delicious.
The hummingbirds are fighting over the blooms of our native columbines...they've never bloomed this early in my garden.
My first sweet peas. Aren't their tendrils amazing? See the blur of kumquat in background?
I think this stellar pelargonium is 'Fandango," but I'm not sure. The cutting was given to me by my oldest gardening buddy. I love this and he keeps it in his dining room indoors throughout the winter. It just shines in the New Mexico sunlight, but it is happy on the patio here at our house.
These dependable white roses bloom almost continuously. I like to tuck them into tussie mussies of scented pelargoniums.
A big box arrived outside our gate just before Christmas...
and inside was this wonderful bee skep sent from my dear (and opinionated) girlfriend Susan Branch. I used to sell these at my herb and garden shop Heart's Ease many years ago, but never kept one for myself. So now I have one that was a gift and will always think of sweet Sue when I look at it.
Let me end this day of fresh and eager eyes with a cautionary tale. I am usually very private about personal issues, but I think my oversight may somehow help you in the future.
In October I bumped my head on the brass bell outside our Maine cottage. When I lifted my bangs I saw a sore, washed it, added some neosporin and ignored it. The sore persisted. I kept ignoring it. By the first week of December the spot was about the size of a dime. I went to my dermatologist and he said, "this is a bad one."
Last week in a prolonged surgery he removed the tumor and had to make an elliptical incision to sew me back together. Now I have four inches of railroad track stitches on my forehead, and beneath that a row of subcutaneous stitches. The surgery went well, but it was extremely painful afterward. On Saturday, when the big pressure dressing was removed, Jeff discovered an infection. My doctor opened his office for me and did a culture and sent us to the pharmacy. By that night, New Year's eve, my face had swollen until my eyes closed. Jeff took me to the hospital and we found out that I am allergic to sulphur-based antibiotics. The rest is just boring medical information, but what I want to say is that YOU must be pro-active about any abnormalities. If I had let this go another month? Who knows the end of that story? So take good care of yourself. Celebrate life, friends, nature, family, and the miracle that is your own precious body.
Sending love and thanks to all of you who have taken me into your lives-and HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2012 is going to be a great one.
P.S. The winner of the hardcover (twenty year old) edition of Sunflower Houses and my latest book, Toad Cottages & Shooting Stars is Vee of a Haven for Vee. Congratulations dear blogging friend.