Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Bee Stings

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While visiting a neighbor's garden, he showed me his beehive. He was just demonstrating how friendly the bees were by putting his bare hand near their entrance/exit at the bottom. That's when i felt a bee buzzing in my hair.

I tried to gently shoo the bee out of my hair, but that only made her mad. When one bee stung me on the scalp, i started running away from the hive, but i could feel a couple of bees still in my hair. Another sting on my neck. Then the owner of the beehive started chasing me and swatting bees (and me!) One more sting on my arm, and i hurried away from that garden as fast as possible.

I could be mad at the bees. I could be mad at the beekeeper. I could be mad at myself for not just standing still. Or i could simply feel the next-day itch of each sting. Itching is what's happening in the present moment. The bees have come and gone. The stings have come and gone.

I'm going to look for the anti-itch gel.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Plop in the New Mums

I ordered my mums through the local Garden Club. The mums are so large ($8 each) that eight mums nearly filled my truck.

The change of seasons means it's time to change the flowerpots on the front step and the back step. Some of those flowerpots still look pretty darn good; others look tired or even very tired. I take the tired ones out of their ceramic pots and plop in the mums. There! That was easy.

We too go through a change of seasons--retirement, moving, or the death of a dear one, to name just a few. We can't just plop another friend in to replace the dearly departed one. We have to adjust to the new season, and often this means losing a part of our history. When we retire, we lose our working identity. When we move, friends who have known us for decades drift away. When a dear one dies, it feels like part of our heart has gone with them.

These transition times are good for realizing the self we thought we were, we actually aren't.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Fall Gardens

I celebrated the first day of fall by going on a local garden tour--a fundraiser for a little K-6 alternative school. What i saw were some of the most beautiful gardens in my town (population 2,000).

Just when it seemed like the gardening season was drawing to a close, i saw loads of blooming flowers.

So it is with aging. Just when it seems like an 80-something should be closing up shop, they're still vibrantly contributing to their local community.

A young relative once asked me, "What do you do anyway, now that you're retired?" Ha! There are lots of blooming flowers in this old gal yet.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Fragrant Nicotiana

Image result for nicotiana
I sit out on my deck in the dark on these warm September nights and listen to the chorus of crickets and tree frogs. I smell the overpowering sweetness of flowering tobacco (Nicotiana), an annual which liberally reseeds itself every year. Just a few years ago, i realized the Nicotiana was out at the vegetable garden, but since it releases its fragrance at night, it should really be blooming near the deck, the front step and the back step.

The right flower in the right place. Ahh. Now there's a challenge. Are we in the right place for us? The right place to meditate regularly? To exercise regularly? To calm our minds and to be mindful?

Where is the right place for us to flower?

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Bouquets for the Wedding

Image result for dahlia zinnia bouquet
I was on the flower committee for a neighbor's wedding. She choose dahlias and zinnias from a local flower farmer, plus a scattering of celosia, dianthus, and even spider flower. Five of us spent the morning arranging flowers into 30 vases for the dinner tables. They were beautiful.

Sunday morning, the flowers traveled to the post-wedding brunch. And then, they dispersed. I brought one bouquet home with me.

The flowers, the wedding, the preparation, and all those worker bees created a beautiful setting for the wedding, the reception, and the brunch. The wedded couple launched into their married lives. All around me sat divorced women, widowed women and men, a young woman married two years ago and now separated. In the moment, we rejoiced in the happiness of the wedding and ignored those other feelings.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Red Malabar Spinach

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In July, i bought Red Malabar Spinach to spruce up the flowerpots on my front step. Even though the name sounds like a vegetable, the plant looks very decorative--shiny green leaves on a red-stemmed vine with small white-pink flowers. Best of all, the spinach continues to grow happily during the hot days of summer since it comes from Malabar in the southwest coast of India.

My green, leafy vegetable is waiting for me every time i walk in the front door. Mindfulness is waiting for me every time i walk from the garage to the front step.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Snake Skin

Last evening was cool, so i fired up the woodstove. In between the first two logs i pulled out of the woodshed was a snake skin. Which gives the word "woodshed" a whole new meaning now that a snake has shed its skin in it.

I am shedding my summer clothes in favor of long sleeves and corduroy pants and fleece vests.

A change of seasons. A change of skins. From warm bare skin to cool.

Summer changes slowly, quickly to autumn. Wriggle out of warmth into a new day of freshness.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Sweet Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I came home to a pile of cherry tomatoes, and, yesterday, i finally got around to drying them. I particularly like grape tomatoes for their meatiness. They are okay in salads, though i prefer the sweetness of sungolds. But the grape tomatoes make very flavorful sun-dried tomatoes.

Some of us are sweet when young; some of us learn to be even sweeter when we are old and wrinkled and dried out.

Sweetness happens when we stop resisting the flow of Life.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Departure Time

Image result for hummingbird migration
Hummingbirds are still here, but they will be leaving on a jet stream any time now. They arrive in my garden around May 10 and usually leave on September 10. That's 3 short months of hummingbird joy.

Sometimes, our dear ones leave us before we are ready. We want them to stay around longer. But it's time for them to go. Early departure is especially hard when friends younger than we leave this life.

But they are migrating on to a place we cannot go with our physical bodies and cannot know with our physical minds.

Trust the spirit, trust Life to know exactly what to do. Life knows far more than our little birdbrain minds ever can.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Butterflies on Boneset

While i was in North Carolina, my sweetie broke a rib. When i returned home he excitedly told me that he had seen 10 monarch butterflies on the Joe Pye Weed. "The common name for that flower is boneset," i said. "Bone-set."

He's not complaining much about his broken rib. When his car crashed, the seat belt and airbag jolted a few other parts of his body, and he feels those aches and pains more strongly.

Our physical bodies surprise us with various breakdowns. But i feel confident that my sweetie will heal. After all, he seems to have 10 monarch butterflies on his side.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Okra. Well, Okay.

I'm visiting family in Georgia, and on Saturday we go to the Farmer's Market. All the vendors are selling okra. I am a true Northerner. I have no idea what to do with okra, but my niece buys a batch and fries it up for our fish tacos. Okra is delicious.

Okra has a reputation. People who love it, love it. And people who aren't so sure about it are relying on word-of-mouth instead of taste-of-mouth.

We don't like it when someone sullies our reputation. We want a fair hearing, and we want people to like us for who and what we are.

Let's give okra a fair hearing, a fair tasting. We might even like it, just as it is.