Tag Archives: pyracantha

The sweetest flower is here.

This morning I wished I had gloves on my hands, as I looped my loop through the fog that was lifting as I went. It was the time when many mothers are walking their kindergarteners to school and pushing a younger child in a stroller. Middle-schoolers congregate in the saddles of their bicycles, and then speed off at the last minute to get to class on time. I encountered four neighbors with three dogs, Nino, Corky and Maverick.

And flowers! Maybe because the edges of the walking paths were sheared in September, a few Queen Anne’s Lace flowers have opened near the ground. This thistle caught my eye, the first I had seen all year, contrasting in color and development with pyracantha already in the berry stage. Above it, the shrub with yellow flowers is one I don’t know, but it looks like it may originate in the southern hemisphere… I say that only because the leaves remind me of bottlebrush. Does anyone know it?

Less exotic is the lower creek path and the creek, seen from the bridge, my “same ol'” favorite scene.

Birds are very busy in the runaway tangles of berries, vines and ripening seeds, such as in the patch of sunflowers in my front yard. I wish I knew who the little ones are that flit about there every day and fly away as soon as I get near.

I am listening to One Wild Bird at a Time by Bernd Heinrich, a man after my own heart, who spends days and weeks at a time in every season, tracking the behavior of birds in the Maine forest around his a cabin. He climbs trees to look into nests of woodpeckers and digs in the snow to count the fecal pellets of grouse, keeping detailed records in hopes of solving what to him are fascinating Why questions of the avian communities and society.

I also find this kind of detective work much more compelling to engage in or to read about than the kind of mystery novel many people enjoy, Agatha Christie or P.D. James or the current favorites. I don’t have the time Mr. Heinrich does to follow the owls and nuthatches through the woods, or to befriend and tame a starling; I also don’t have the vast background knowledge of birds and insects that informs his research, so I really appreciate his sharing the joy of his lifelong love in action.

Busy as my days have been, full as my house already is with books, when I returned a book to the drop slot at the library I succumbed to the temptation to look into the five ! 4-foot cube containers of books out in front, evidently what was left over from a book sale, books that were intended for thrift stores but — the truck had broken down, or what? We who were rummaging through only knew that the library staff had told us to take what we wanted, and yes, for free.

Wouldn’t you also have at least looked? I don’t know how much time I spent there, and I don’t know if it was the right thing to do… It was a strange situation, to be outdoors where several of the people were chatting as they tried to dig down at least a couple of feet toward who-knew-what treasures, the deepest of which were completely out of reach, unless someone wanted to dumpster dive.  One woman said, “These are some great books!” and later I heard, “These are all worthless.” Another seeker examined one volume after another and said to whoever would listen, “I never look a gift book in the mouth,” which seemed not the right proverb for what she was actually doing.

I talked to a third-grade girl who had come to the library with her grandfather. I showed her a few books I thought she might like, including Lemony Snicket and Beverly Cleary. She said about Cleary, “I only read the new books,” and told me she was looking for books for her baby sister.

I still had a bag of books in my car that I had taken from a box at church, left by a friend who used to sell books online and now is joining a convent. The picture above shows most of what I brought home from the two sources, less a couple of cookbooks I’d already put on the shelf; the book at the bottom right with the embossing worn off is How Green Was my Valley.

The Art of Loving I have an interest in because I had read it on my own in high school, and then at an interview for a college scholarship the interviewer wanted me to talk about why I liked it; I was completely unprepared for that and dumb. (I did get the scholarship anyway.) Many of these books I chose thinking of the possible interest of various of my very large and growing family. But I suspect I will end up giving at least a few to the thrift store myself!

I’ve cooked a couple of new things lately, first, some homemade dry cereal as inspired by Cathy and adapting the method she uses, developed by The Healthy Home Economist. I’ve made two batches now, and I really like it. I decreased the amount of maple syrup in my second batch and used both chickpea flour and rice bran in my recipe, and it was still good 🙂 Cathy’s picture made it look very good, and mine doesn’t seem as appealing visually, but here it is.

My housemate Susan taught me this summer to enlist the aid of Saint Phanourios when I lost something important.  The second time it was my keys, including the remote key to my car, that I lost, and when I found them I decided to bake the traditional cake in his honor, for both findings. It’s a yummy spice cake that Greeks might eat at any time, baked with orange juice and zest, and walnuts.

I was anticipating the arrival of grandsons Liam, Laddie, and Brodie this week, and decided to revive my traditional Oatmeal Bread recipe to serve them, which was our sandwich, toast, snacking bread for twenty years or so when we fed a houseful of us. For a time Pippin was the baker. We had to turn out a batch of five loaves a little more often than once a week. (Not quite as often we added a batch of the sourdough bread.)

This is Liam giving a sniff to the loaves that had only just come out of the oven when they arrived, with their mom and tiny baby sister — ta da! — Clara. She is my favorite fall flower of all.

 

I slip on the downside of Fall.

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pyracantha on path (Waterlogue)

Only a couple of days ago I was in love with the season and my new plants and all. Then last night, as I was airily driving to Vespers, suddenly it descended like a solid black cloud, the realization that I would not have my beloved companion with me this year. The days are cooler and damper and one can take a walk at any time of day and it will be pleasant, but he will not be here to share the  delights of the season with.

Today I took a walk alone, as I will have to do more often now, trying to hold on to what is left of me. I hoped the exercise would improve my weepy mood, and I thought I might take some pictures with my phone, because that urge is something  of me that remains, and it’s not overly challenging work.

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turning leaves

The change in me is one of the griefs that is so disturbing. I don’t only miss my husband, my companion of 45 years, but I miss my very life, because it is changed at several levels. I know in faith, and even by the evidence of the recent months, that God’s plans for me are good, but now I feel the down side of the season’s changes in the way they mark the progress through the cycles of the years and seasons of life, and make me feel the sting of change and decay.

Last night I saw a photo slide past on my screen saver, set to shuffle family pictures, a snapshot taken of my husband when he was just a little boy on the beach, looking serene and calm. He didn’t know then that his life would speed up year by year, that he was racing toward the grave. I was stunned and angry. He comes forth like a flower, and is cut down: he flees also as a shadow, and continues not. (Job 14:2)

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The memorial service for which I made the koliva was also last night, just before Vespers, right after I was hit by the black cloud. As I served up little cups of the boiled wheat dish in the narthex several of us were remarking on how we can’t keep track of the passage of time; what year was it that Sarah reposed? We need help to remember, and to remember the things that we ought. It’s good for us to have these services and to pray for the dead partly because it reminds us that our own death is coming, and we should live in light of that.

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Neighbor Elizabeth’s front yard

To remind myself of the realities that have sustained me through the last months, I spent some time this morning looking through the blog posts I have written since my husband’s death. I was surprised to find that the comments from you readers were the most comforting words to read, because you have suffered with me via my blog and have prayed for and affirmed me through everything. I wanted to write a private e-mail to so many of you, but I decided to write this post instead. Writing is a way for me to tame my wild thoughts and feelings as I organize them and put them into a perspective that is in tune with Truth, and the love of The Holy Trinity.

Several “real life” friends learned of my extra sorrow today. I received hugs and phone calls and e-mails, and prayers. I know that many of you pray for me often, and that is heartening. I ask my husband to pray for me too, as I know that in reality he is not far away, no matter how I may feel in the moment. Thank you all, for reading my blog, for praying. Thank you, God, for everything.

For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
(II Timothy 1:7)

by my front door