Thursday, September 26, 2013

Left Behind

My husband wanders like a puppy tracking fresh scents.  He disappears  while touring, hiking or biking, not to mention shopping. He slips away without saying a word. As soon as I realize he's not beside me my head swivels to catch a glimpse of him. I sidle through the crowd to spot him down an aisle.

Once I gave up the wild goose chase and paged him. He didn't respond and a quarter hour later I found him outside on a bench. Now I keep him at my side in Wal-Mart. Actually, now I won't even go to Wal-Mart with him.

Most outings include someone asking "Where's Bill?"  It's become a joke. 

Except for when I find it irritating. When I'm in a hurry, it's aggravating.  And when we travel, his vanishing act is distressing.  We chronicle these events in family lore as the (almost) left behind series. 
They've never been the disaster I direly predict. In fact, most of them are funny. After the fact.      

Once our family vacationed in Hawaii. In Honolulu we rode public buses to Sea World.  As the self-designated tour guide for our family I had  the bus schedule and a paper map to track our transfer points. Returning, we were the first passengers to reboard at Sea World. Bill settled in the back of the empty bus where he claimed he could see better. I told him to keep an eye on us because I feel more secure sitting near the driver. The kids and I sat opposite the center exit door.

photo by martin, flickr 
The bus took on passengers until it was more crowded than a tropical fish tank. People were elbow to hip in the aisles and my two girls and I were jammed into one seat. 

The transfer point loomed. One daughter pulled the yellow cord to indicate a stop. I nudged and prodded the way to the stairs like an ice breaker through a frozen river. Passengers pressed in our wake to fill the space. 

Mexico City, photo from EMBARQ 

The bus stopped. We jumped off but Bill was still inside the bus. As it pulled away he stood on the bottom step, legs spread, hands pressed against the glass. The three of us watched from the sidewalk.

He got off at the next stop and made his way to us before our connecting bus came. 

I was annoyed. Surely, I thought, he’ll pay more attention in the future. The incident didn't worry him. Ramblers are as enchanted with the journey as the destination. 

If you know a straggler, share one of your near misses to include in the Left Behind series. 

* The title is a reference to a series of apocalyptic novels I didn’t read. Apparently Christians are snatched from earth, and the rest are left behind.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sprigs: How to Divide Day Lilies

This week is a how-to. 

If you have day lilies that have grown too thick, this is a good time to divide and replant. I found these directions for storing them over the winter. However, the steps are the same if you just need to thin them. I took pictures in case anyone else was hesitant about being too rough with the rhizome. But I'm convinced you can't easily damage them. 

1. Dig up the clumps.

2. Trim off the tops of the plants.

3. Divide the clumps.

4. Lay them out to dry if you are going to store them. Otherwise, replant.

Mine are now layered with peat moss and stored in an old ice chest.  I hope they come through the winter. 

I'll let you know.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Second Wind

I’m not an athlete, but even I know that if I rest before I get too tired, I get a second wind. 

This is just as true when exercising emotions.  

missed our turn-off, but got close to the Arch!
Recently, my husband and I drove to Missouri upon my father's death. I expected to feel distress, sadness, and anxiety. But apparently I have shallow emotional reserves and time with family quickly drained me. Once spent, I fled to the hotel. 

As a highly introverted person, I best refill when I have time alone. That wasn’t an option yet. 

I persevered through the short trip, ready and relieved to depart. 

Once home I felt like an old helium balloon hovering just above the floor. Over the next days I promised myself no agenda but to nap. We expected out-of-town guests in three days; but, I reckoned, I’d be at least partially reinflated by then. 

However, I’d written down the wrong dates, and the day after our return my friends called and said they were two hours away. Should they stop for dinner first?

I was dismayed, and dreaded what I had formerly anticipated.  My husband reassured me and said a quick prayer while we made up the guest bed. 

Our friends were gracious, insightful, and let us set the pace--old-people slow-motion.

Thank you, Scott and Becki. (Bec on the left, Scott's the photographer) 

By the time we retired the first evening my consternation had faded.   Although still weary, I knew they understood my poverty of spirit. 

Over the next days they shared their emotional energy, and I got a second wind. 

It blew in with their arrival, buoyed me up for the duration of their stay, and I rode it out on the jetstream of their departure.

Anne Lamott says it better than I can:

“This is the most profound spiritual truth I know: that even when we're most sure that love can't conquer all, it seems to anyway. It goes down into the rat hole with us, in the guise of our friends, and there it swells and comforts. It gives us second winds, third winds, hundredth winds.”

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sprigs: Last Tango

There's not much worth looking at in my gardens this time of the year. 

I went out to cut a bouquet and this was it:  wild yellow and blue flowers (yes, I know they're weeds.) 

But they make a flirty pair, more like a tango than a formal waltz.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sprigs: Purple Basil

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  Purple basil is a staple in my flower beds.
A fellow gardener gave me one plant eleven years ago.

They reseed themselves (too) freely. Now I just pull them up as they begin to form seeds, or when they are in a place I don't want them. 

They smell wonderful, and I sometimes cook with them. 

aromatic basil and chive bouquet

 When summer is waning, they grow large. They make lovely bouquets by themselves, or added to flowers. 

If you want some, I'll share!