Tag Archives: hyssop

What I love and don’t fear – domiciliphilia

hyssop beginning to flower

Hyssop is blooming in my garden, reminding me of Psalm 51: Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed. Thou shalt wash me, and I shall become whiter than snow. Three years ago seeds must have fallen into the ground from the plant I’d bought; why they waited so long to sprout this spring, I don’t know.

The zinnias are going strong, and now the purple coneflowers are coming on. I got distracted and forgot about them when they were dormant and the foxgloves were dominating that space, and by planting the red zinnias I broke my rule about not having red and magenta-colored flowers together. That could have been a disaster!

But they seem to be getting along o.k. Even when the landscape is not living up to my visions, I’m relaxed out in the garden in the midst of my accomplishments. They are really God’s accomplishments; the little contributions I made could never on their own have created the splendor that is right here in my back yard.

An orange dragonfly posed for a picture.

I have joked that I approach agoraphobia, but that was coming at the truth from the wrong direction. I just love being home and working at home. Until I came home to the Orthodox Church, I dragged my feet even about going to church, much as I loved the people there, and God. And though I will gladly drive and fly all over the country and even the world to see and be with those dear to me, it’s annoying just having to run errands in my town and break my concentration, my focus on home.

It’s not laziness, it’s an attentiveness that encompasses many kinds of mental and physical work. You’ve seen the long lists of things homemakers are called upon to do; well, I have my own intensely personal version of that list, and only God knows all that is on it, what burdens I carry and how light they are here in my realm.

No, I don’t fear going out, I don’t have a phobia of The Marketplace. But when I do go, it is always with the anticipation of feathering my nest with things I will bring back, or with the confidence that I will soon return to the place where I am most alive and productive…and the hope that having accomplished those outside tasks I will have a longish reprieve from distractions, and be able to get on with my best work.

I’m not agoraphobic, I’m domiciliphilic.


We Need Food of All Kinds

Soldier’s wedding will take place in a few days.  Mr. Glad and I are just trying to get ourselves and the house and my father-in-law ready for the Joyous Event–and trying at the same time to get over our summer colds. I was pleased to pick the first lemon cucumber and add it with our arugula and the multi-colored cherry tomatoes to some lettuce last night, to fortify us for the work, and for the happy busyness ahead.

This morning I was well enough and eager to get back to church, where we remembered the life of St. Lawrence of Rome. God has filled my cup with delights like this–how many parishes are able to celebrate on a Tuesday morning?

St. Lawrence was a deacon serving with Pope Sixtus in the third century; his life and martyrdom are peppered with several encouraging stories. He seems to have had a good sense of humor, and among the various groups who call him patron are comedians.

G. K. Chesterton said it is the test of a good religion, whether you can joke about it. I’m sure he didn’t mean anything like mocking God or His salvation. But being able to laugh at oneself is a sign of humility, and I think it might be a collective form of this humor he is talking about. The whole subject of humor is something mysterious to me, and I would do well to study Chesterton’s other writings about it. For now I will change the subject after my favorite pertinent quote, also from him: “Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly.”

I came home from the feast and noticed the hyssop flowers having grown taller and taller. Bees were drinking nectar from the blooms, but bees are hard to photograph–one has to take time and a couple dozen pictures in hopes of getting one without a blur of bee, and I have lots of housework yet to do.

My life is like my garden. It’s full of beautiful and colorful things and events, ever changing, and I notice so few of them. Fewer still can I pick and show anyone else. My sociable or communicative side I find is always writing script in my mind, for how to tell other people about my discoveries and joys. But when the foliage and flowers grow so fast, events tumbling and intertwining with each other like a jungle, the feeling of not keeping up has been a gift in itself. From a feeling of helplessness, God has given me grace to just stop that script-writing for a few minutes at a time and direct my noticing and my thanks only to Him. Let me be like the bee, blurry if need be, but doing my job of imbibing the sweetness.

Foggy Flowers

Yesterday the sun never did come out. They say our summer is 4° cooler than average, but it seems worse than that, especially when the morning fog continues all day. It’s making me slow and dull this morning.

I was busy in the kitchen yesterday, so it didn’t bother me too much. The lack of bright light made it possible to take flower pictures, so I did catch my new hyssop plant that has reached 4 feet! I bought the hyssop back in April, in a 2″ pot as I recall, but I can’t find a picture of it as a baby for comparison. It did grow fast.


Next to the hyssop is an echinacea flower from which someone took a big bite off one side. My garden is so untidy it’s hard to get a good picture of anything without there being a random brick or weed or untrimmed dead flower protruding on the nice thing I’m trying to feature. But I cropped most of the ugliness out of the picture at left.







The New Zealand Spinach I was so pleased to find at the plant sale has done beautifully. This is what it looked like back then:

Earlier this month I made some Creamy Green Soup using the first pickings, shown in this bowl, which you can’t really tell is 16″ in diameter. Creamy Green Soup is a recipe I got from Laurel’s Kitchen long ago. It is infinitely variable, depending on your whim and what greens you have around. This last time mine had split peas, this spinach, onion and garlic and basil in it….maybe some other things, certainly butter. It’s nice to add a little cream or cheese, too.

The nasturtiums I planted all over the back yard are doing famously. I remembered at least once to put three colors of their petals in a salad. Now I really must go upstairs and do some ironing. Maybe it will help warm me up on this wintry summer day.