I was reading lately that gardening fills a void for some women as they mature and become “empty nesters.” This is a term I personally loathe but it’s an economical way to get the point across. As I was kneeling in my garden today, gratefully breathing in the heady scent from my two lilac trees and allowing myself to pause, whenever I liked really, to admire the iridescent navy-blue throats of the grackles that everyone seems to despise but me or to visit with the tiny toad who crossed my glove and then became very still, one foot up, one foot down, in case I had seen him (which I had and was delighted) I thought how different this experience was from an earlier version of my-gardening-self some ten years ago when it was imperative to get those vegetables planted, perennials divided and seeds planted in a kind of dizzying Operation Desert Storm long weekend which bore no resemblance to the calm, contemplative, almost Zen-like experience I enjoyed today. Continue reading
It’s difficult for me to remember my mother’s voice or even her face sometimes. On some sensory level I can still feel the softness of her skin as it encased the bone when I would trace my hand back and forth across the planes of her cheek and brow but it’s been nearly forty years now. I dream of her sometimes and all of the normal things I would have liked to have done with her and never did, like treating her to some highlights at the hair salon, imagining her squealing delight at my sons – especially as babies – or having an English tea out somewhere a bit fancy.
My mother was truly beautiful inside and out and possessed great vats of personal charm.
In now vintage photos with her hair falling in a shining coil (“I don’t know, you just wound it round your finger” she answered unsatisfactorily when I asked how this was achieved) she looked exactly like Lauren Bacall, a childish pronouncement that pleased her immensely. I once asked her sister (my aunt obviously) if she thought I bore any resemblance to my mother and she looked at me and said “Weeeell, not to be rotten but your mother was a very good looking woman you know.”