Tag Archives: Waterlogue

September is a benefaction.

figs with strawberry tree fruit

This might be the first September in ten years that I have stayed home all month. I usually go to the cabin or to celebrate Ivy’s birthday, or both. This staying in place has given me time to pay attention to all the sweetness, and I’m starting to think that it’s my favorite month of the year. Where I live the earth has not lost its deep warmth, the bees are still humming away, and there is more time to just wander in the garden and be astonished.

Instead of the rush of springtime and all the related chores that pile up urgently in that season, late summer/early fall in this mild climate brings with it rudbeckia flowers, bursting milkweed pods, and figs that softly droop on their stems. Am I not the most favored of humans, that I can walk a few steps out my back door and pick a ripe fig to eat then and there?

The heat waves are less intense than the spells in August. We can comfortably leave the windows open all day and night and enjoy the breezes blowing through, as they cycle from cool to warm and back to cool and damp again in the evening. I respond in my several mood and sweater changes.

Many people talk about Indian Summer, but it’s just normal California weather to have hot spells in late September and even into October. If it gets hot after a killing frost, I think that is what they call a true Indian Summer… Call it what you will, I love it, and hate to see it go.

But October is nearly here, and suddenly I need to put toys under cover, order firewood, and plant peas. Last night I had to put another blanket on my bed. Good-bye September! I love you!

I hear a voice, and have an adventure.

gl IMG_0929My husband didn’t speak to me from the grave, but I did get a pertinent message from him — and from myself, too — and it was delightful. You know how below each individual post on my blog there are three links to “related” posts from the past? At the bottom of yesterday’s was one titled “Walking in 2012.” As I was finishing my breakfast this morning and ready to leave for the gym I clicked on it to see what I had written about back then. (I have published almost 1000 posts and have forgotten many of them by now.)

It was about a brief conversation I had with my dear husband at the very beginning of the gl IMG_0923new year of 2012, and about a neighborhood walk I took as a result. Reading what he said, and what I said…I could hear us all over again and laugh at how we were. What I recounted of that walk and all that I learned, well, it was just what the doctor ordered. I thanked God and Mr. Glad, and I changed my plan and set off for a walk in the outdoors instead of driving to the gym.

Rain had fallen last night and early this morning, but the clouds had all blown away to the edges of the sky, and the sun was shining. I walked along the creek, and the sweet earthy smells emanating from all the plants and the ground were so delicious. I started thinking about the time my husband and I were walking in the rain forest. That was a pleasant and vivid memory.

I hadn’t brought anything but my cell phone, and I was glad to have it because very soon I began taking pictures of trees. So many of them seemed to look extra handsome with some dark gray clouds in the background.gl IMG_0928

One of the first I noticed was an olive tree (above) that seemed to fit very nicely in a front yard, and had been pruned so as to keep it looking the way an olive should. Some neighbors on my block have four or five olives in front of their house and they prune them like lollipops twice a year. I wanted to plant an olive in my new landscape but many people discouraged me, partly because they get so big. So I will keep two of mine that are in pots, and get them matching pots, and study the best way to prune them according to their natural bent.

This redwood tree I saw this morning must be the healthiest and best formed specimen in town. I could hardly believe it was a redwood, it is so thick and green, and standing all by itself, too! Coast redwoods much prefer to be in groups, where they can preserve moisture and coolness against dry weather. Most of them along the avenues here are not planted that way, and they have suffered terribly in the last few years.IMG_0933

One yard on my way had both a giant fig tree and a very tall persimmon tree. I was admiring them when the neighbor came out of his house and we said, “Good morning.” I remarked about the beauty of the persimmon tree and he said,

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“I guess… I get the trimmers out here all the time and try to keep it away from my gutters.” You can see how it is indeed very one-sided after that kind of pruning, but it looks as though it would still give the owners plenty of fruit, on top of what they get from the fig tree.

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I noticed then that even though the sun was shining warmly on me, tiny drops of rain were starting to fall, too. Oops — I wasn’t prepared for that, and only had a pocket of my flannel shirt in which to put my phone. But first, I had to snap another olive tree, this one an example of what you do not want your olive to look like. Those are lots of suckers growing at the base of the tree.

Hmmm…the rain was heavier, and I looked for a tree that might be close to the sidewalk and with a dry area underneath. I found it in this palm tree; here is my view from under its thick canopy, with the added interest of a fig tree growing out of its tidy trunk.gl IMG_0944

I stayed under that roof for a minute or two, but not knowing how long the shower might last, I was soon braving the wet again, after having wrapped my phone with two handkerchiefs I’d found in the other shirt pocket.

With it under cover, I had to pass by several more lovely tree specimens without taking note of them with the camera. I came upon a big redwood with lots of dry ground under it, so I paused again and took a picture of its underside, but I will spare you. That’s the first time I’ve preferred a palm to a redwood. Soon I was on my way, after picking up a big leaf. When I got it home I put my Waterlogue phone app to painting it. That tool is addictive, but I find that most of the pictures I take don’t convert very well.

That was my adventure, much more fun, I’m sure, than I’d have had at the gym. I didn’t even get very wet, though I had the joy of walking in the rain. I made new tree friends, and renewed the lessons I’d been taught almost four years ago, with the help of my late husband. I told you he wasn’t very far away.

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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 theĀ  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 somethingĀ  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