Flower Garden

The small flower bed near my front door is a wild mess. It doesn’t look like much and I don’t fuss with it. I’m more of a vegetable gardener than a flower gardener.

It’s the harbinger of spring when the first purple crocus pokes up its brave head. In the fall I pull frost-killed plants and the ground lies bare in resignation to the looming cold, dark months. It sleeps under a blanket of snow and the cycle begins again.

A changing palette—purple fragrant hyacinth, orange lilies, red poppies, and now, lavender, bright yellow calendula, and pink cosmos—fills the space. I could do more with the space if I was so inclined. But I’m not, and it’s enough.

Sometimes I sit on the ground in front of it with my camera. I’m transported to the wonder of the macro world in quiet meditation as I take photos. I see the Divine in that little messy flower garden.

 

Rich

I’m at the park, kneeling at my tripod and looking through the viewfinder at some flowers I don’t know the name of. What someone somewhere called them in the past doesn’t matter. They’re growing here today and I’m appreciating their unique beauty and attempting to capture a reasonable digital representation. Sometimes I catch glimmers of the Divine when I’m photographing flowers—maybe today will be one of those days.

A woman carrying a smartphone comes into my peripheral vision. She walks softly into this garden space as if she is intruding on my visual meditation. I do my best not to pay attention, but as she moves toward the bench where I left my camera bag my awareness of her heightens. I continue to work, adjusting the position of my tripod and my camera on the ball-mount, metering and focusing on the image I see through the viewfinder. Click. Click, click.

When I’m satisfied, I stand and adjust myself, and pick up my gear. The woman stands a respectful distance away from the bench and my bag looking toward the water. She lifts her phone to take photos of the geese coming up on the shore. I sit on the bench and she joins as I unzip my bag and tuck my camera inside.

She’s tells me she’s there for the goslings.

“Did you see them when they were young?” she asks, her eyes sparkling.

She scrolls through images on her phone and shows me photos of downy yellow babies she captured a few weeks earlier. We talk for a few minutes about the park, and photography, and the geese. There’s something vaguely familiar about her and I wonder if I once knew who she was. Today, she’s just a solitary woman who comes here to watch and record the wonder of a growing family of geese—a woman who hasn’t forgotten the way to wonderland. I think she must be one of the richest people in the city.

Important, Not Urgent

Gerry leaves early for a hike and I putter in the kitchen making pasta salad and a big batch of granola. It’s 9:00 when everything’s done, cleaned up, and put away: the time I head down to the woman cave to write.

But the sun is shining and it is warm outside. The deck looks so inviting. I’ll skip writing today.

For the second summer in a row I’m choosing to be intentional about sitting on the deck and reading: the thing I dreamed of having time to do when I was still constrained by demands of my career. The thing I’ve let busyness with other things usurp upon.

So I read. Then I the book down and pray, pick up another and read some more. I jot down some notes and think about threads. I ruminate. What a delicious way to spend a morning.

Gerry arrives home around lunchtime. We eat, play chess, and I suggest a visit to the rose garden to take photos. We end up going to two parks, with a stop for ice cream in between. It turns out to be one of those gentle days when the important things get done.

Chamomile

With my thumb and forefinger, I pluck tiny white and yellow chamomile flowers. They are a perpetual gift: the more I pick the more return in their place. I toss them on a plate on my windowsill to dry and lift my fingers to enjoy the sweet aroma.

Later I go back to the raised bed tea garden with my macro-lens-outfitted camera and my tripod and, just as I suspected, there I find magic in those little buds.

 

Balsamroot

The week does not unfold as expected, but it falls in a pleasant way, nonetheless. I spend mornings writing, and after lunch and a chess game, we go out and do something together. One afternoon we pack our camera gear and go on a quest to photograph the Arrowleaf Balsamroot—a bright harbinger of spring in these parts.

My hiking husband knows where to go—he’s trekked on hills and mountains all around the area. He recognizes mountains by their shape. It’s not uncommon for him to point out peaks when we’re driving somewhere by saying: “I’ve been on the top of that”.

We take a meandering road, past hills that are the greenest they’ll be this year, to a quiet spot and an easy path that’s Linda-accessible. We pass by a man paddling his kayak to the shore, and a couple of hikers on their way out of the area we’re heading into.

“Good afternoon!”

”It’s a beautiful day for a hike.”

”Sure is.”

We turn a corner on the narrow path and Gerry points out “heart attack hill”, a place where a harbinger of another kind got our attention not so very long ago. We turn another corner and there before us the hills are awash with yellow. Quintessential Kamloops spring. We pull out our cameras and capture some images of the glory of creation in this place.

In time, we return to our car and drive a bit farther up the road.

“The last time I was on this road it was a single lane.”

”The last time I was on this road was for something to do with Brownies a hundred and twelve years ago.”

Memories. These are the gifts of being rooted in a place.

We arrive at the top, turn around, and drive back down. Meandering. Eyes scanning hither and yon, taking in the beauty of the day and enjoying the companionship of one another.

It’s a simple way to spend an afternoon. It’s pretty much perfect. I have a fleeting thought about how thankful I am that I’m here and not sequestered in a meeting room discussing a yet-to-be-made-public project with a cryptic top-secret name, like I was now and then in my pre-retirement life.

Life is sweet. We are blessed. There is always, always, something to be thankful for.