Turtling with rugs and flowers.

As I was ironing some springtime trousers in the morning room, my eye caught the color on the orchid nearby. It’s blooming! Sometime in the last months I’d moved this long-ignored plant into my new space, and started giving it a little water more regularly. The response is heartening.

What I did to the neglected orchid was never conceived as a task to write on a list. It was just one of those many little things that we do, when we are “puttering” about our homes. Small tasks add up to make an increasingly homey space.

Only recently I found these rugs that seemed just perfect for my morning room that I hope will also be a sewing room. One of the reasons they appealed was that the turtle had not long before become an important symbol for me, after I heard a woman about my age speak about the practice of moving forward, no matter how slowly, when one is feeling overwhelmed by decisions and tasks. She said we must “keep turtling.” I had never heard “turtle” used as a verb before, but immediately I began to feel an affinity with those creatures, and to think of them as elegant and wise.

It seems there are other slangy meanings for to turtle, and one of them, “To defensively hide in one’s shell,”  has long been part of my survival toolkit. Ideally, I like to enact both meanings, as on the days when I get to stay home all day and get homey things done.

Bright Monday afternoon I truly lazed about the garden, quite worn out from the festivities and staying up late many nights for Holy Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday services. Then there was Pascha itself, when many of us didn’t get to bed until 4:00 a.m. I was pretty loopy, and really happy about many things, including the sunny day. I think you could say that I turtled, too, because I phoned my sister, and also invited a neighbor over to sit a while. I moved forward in catching up with people I love.

In the picture below of the orange helianthemum, you can see in the distance a box of panettone and a jar of lemon curd. I was having friends for dinner and took those items out of the freezer kind of late, so I was defrosting them in the sun.

As we enter the last day of Bright Week, I wanted to be sure to show you these garden beauties that show their understanding hearts by their uplifted and shining faces.

10 thoughts on “Turtling with rugs and flowers.

  1. Your garden has burst forth and it’s beautiful. And I love the bright light in your morning room (which is a lovely phrase or description, isn’t it?). That rug — I kept going back to that photo several times. It’s a wonderful find for you, certainly as it reflects something part of your life right now. But I just love it because I love it, with no other meaning apart from that. It’s really beautiful. And it’s perfect there. The orchid is beautiful, too.


  2. Christ is Risen!  Your blog is very sweet.  I pray that you can pace yourself.  Lots and lots and lots of heavenly festivities at this time.  Maybe I will see you on Radonitsa.  I visited the cemetery Wednesday, and cleaned up some of graves. Love, Christie


  3. When the weather warms up I often see turtles on rocks or logs on the lake. Now I’ll always think of “moving forward no matter how slowly”.

    Your helianthemum is lovely.


  4. Your morning room is lovely, Gretchen and how perfect are your turtle rugs in it. I smiled reading about their double meaning because “turtling” along seems to be the story of my life now and I can also easily hide in my shell, sometimes for far too long. Now I’ll take comfort from relating this to the creature my husband loves so much, he who is known for stopping traffic so that they can cross the road safely. That is a beautiful shade of your orchid! I have kept my white one blooming regularly for six years now by following the directions that came with it to give it 6 ice cubes once a week. It goes on my calendar as does to “water Mother” every two weeks–my large mother-in-law’s tongue. Now if I could only figure out why my humongous aloe is turning brown after flourishing for years.


  5. Oh Gretchen it’s so nice to see your garden proliferating! Right now I’m in the middle of not just gardening but underneath my house flooded and so restoration work is having to be done. But I understand that God does put us into times of testing and I refuse to be daunted by this. Satan may not have all the glory, God is good and will care for me!
    I’m amazed at how Satan inserts his views into my space! But all I have to do is call his bluff and walk in Faith, this is NOT a punishment nor retribution for past or present sin. I have a certain advocate and shall overcome, no matter the present bleak outlook!
    And we have the Great Cloud of Witnesses too!!



  6. Christ is Risen, Alleluia! This is a joyful post! I have been behind in reading – catching up with friends – but it is a joy to do so now. I love your prayer space and the sea turtle rugs. When we learned to scuba dive, the absolute highlight was to spy a sea turtle – an “angel of the ocean.” Nothing was more surprisingly graceful – they always lifted our spirits.

    The photos of your garden are spirit lifting, as well. I have a couple spaces I would like to fill/expand with plants, but I have been slow about deciding what to plant. This is inspiration! Do you have a yellow lupine?


    1. Yes, Emily, that is my yellow bush lupine, the sort that grow wild on the California coast. Did you have them in San Diego? I found the 4″ pot at a native plant nursery locally, and it grew and grew… and grew! I don’t have it now, though — I just removed it yesterday, still covered with blooms, which was a little sad. But I always knew it was too big for its spot, and it was always laying its branches on other plants and retarding their growth. I’m glad I have pictures like this one to help me keep it in my memory.


  7. Yours is such a beautiful garden! The fountain in the middle makes a lovely center piece. I also like your turtle rugs – they remind me of the turtles I saw in Hawai’i while snorkeling. Such graceful creatures in the water, so different than when they’re on land. I had never heard of the verb “to turtle”, but I like the meaning of it.


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