is my baby
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Friday, April 18, 2014
and the Wild Thing tree shadow
on the April 18 snow
Yoga was probably never better timed; in spite of the beautiful morning I needed some extra inner peace today, maybe a little extra inner strength. Robin's understanding of anatomy and recovery is making such a difference in the on-going healing from the infection of 2009 that played havoc on my nervous system, but she's also finding and fixing areas troubled by scar tissue - related even further back to the rough recovery from surgery after my c-section with Hannah's birth. She gives me hope that I could be looking at feeling, physically, a lot better - for the rest of my life. ...Which is so important - now more than ever.
always in need of healing, therapy, help.
I believe I will be fragile forever,
so I have to work a little harder at being strong,
and control what I can.
|at the top of the Bay Street stairs|
slush, snow, ice melting
in morning sun
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
I decided to sign up, on the off chance I'd feel like doing something by April.
Since that time...
I've been wanting to learn more about trees. My knowledge of them is very book based and photography driven, but identification often escapes me and I didn't even realize how little I knew about their care until last night.
|Madge doesn't damage trees|
she admires them in famous Canadian paintings
In yoga, and during acupuncture I often visualise a tree - specifically the Oak in our front yard. I breathe through the roots, up the truck, through the branches, into the leaves reaching into the sky then back down through it all into the roots and into the earth. Why I left roots off my first drawing ...bothers me.. .My branches weren't as well "pruned" either - more like a city tree than a forest tree. These on my after-class tree may not be much better, it could be taller - with a better canopy.
I wonder what kind of tree I'll draw in a few months...
Monday, April 14, 2014
I hadn't thought about the garden bed in front of the house, I don't even remember looking at it much until now..., didn't even notice how pitiful it was.
It came to me in an instant as I walked up the path to the front door the other morning on my way home from yoga feeling good and clear for the first time in days. It's going to be Finn's garden ~ below his bedroom window overlooking the Lake.
As it is now a nearly dead, over sheared cedar stands nearest to the front door, anchoring that corner of the house. It just has to go, ...sorry, to the compost. Two leggy, confused mugo pines are also headed for the compost, with whatever mystery spindles are left. There's some sort of lime-leafed spirea in the middle that I'm not sure what to do with - let it stay? Find a new garden for it? I'm not sure yet.
The rest is just empty, full of rocks... .
Alchemilla mollis has been a favourite garden plant for as long as I can remember. I love how the dew pools on the leaves, and the lemon-lime flower sprays are perfect for cut flower bouquets - like baby's breath... gorgeous.
Also for tea, chamomile (I like the little pointy daisy-like heads of the German chamomile Matricaria recutita), and two of the David Austin roses Winchester Cathedral (to have a little of my mother and father in Finn's garden) and Heathcliff, lemon balm, echinacea, feverfew, and lemon thyme.
Friday, April 11, 2014
It's no secret acupuncture - specifically acupuncture with Sarah - changed my life and my perspective of medicine years ago. The role she has played in these months since losing Finn have saved my life more than once. It's so much more than the magic she does with the needles, her understanding of Chinese medicine and ability to translate it as she works, the clear connections she can explain about anatomy, function, and emotions.
In my first weeks home after Finn died she would come over - I don't even know how many times a week..it's all a blur, but I remember her there many times at the side of my bed gently doing what she does, letting me cry, helping me breathe. The point on my foot that she worked her acupressure on is forever tattooed in her handwriting 'foot over-looking tears'...because after a few minutes of that I would drift into a dreamless sleep and find some peace for a few hours.
I still see her twice a week and probably always will. When her and Carrie move into their new, beautiful clinic I'll probably see her even more. I'm believing in a little bit of divine intervention in this Year of the Horse that has brought us back to one of my favourite places - Andy's old apartment, the same house where we had Hannah's baby shower, our favourite stoop.
There's more going on here that I can't say out loud yet, but is so exciting - good things happening to good people, good friends ....all connecting back to this park, PACI, that favourite old apartment, down-town PA...our stomping ground.. The new-old connections are goose bump worthy. My text messages are full of people saying, "Giddy Up!"
|Waverley Park at 8:46am|
on my way to acupuncture
|ruby rubber boots|
at the top of the
Bay Street Stairs
|Waverley Park at 5:49 pm|
on my way home from seeing Rodney
|sunset and the Giant|
10 April 2014
Friday, April 4, 2014
In one of the many stories of infant loss that I've read lately a simple story about potatoes has stuck in my mind. I wish I could link to it, but I've lost the story in links - when I find it I will. This mother wrote about trying to make mashed potatoes some time after the death of her infant daughter..., she peeled the potatoes then stood there staring at them wondering what to do next.
That really summed it all up.. use it as an analogy if you like, something so simple as making mashed potatoes, and not 'forgetting' what to do..but just not even understanding what you're doing - in the middle of doing it.
Thursday, April 3, 2014
All of this reminds me of the front garden transformation at Pearl. :)
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
The last few boxes surrounding my desk in the basement are in the process of being unpacked. Finally.
Most of what's left are boxes of photos that need to be dealt with properly, organized, and put in albums - I've slowly been compiling everything for that project..., which I'm actually really looking forward to doing.
Family suddenly has a whole new context, and our photographed story from my father as a child in Holland, my mother as a kindergarten teacher, my sister and I growing up, our weddings, our children... is something worth telling properly.
This morning was spent sulking, feeling sorry for myself, emotional, unable to even look at Finn's photos. I miss him so much. Some times(days, hours, minutes, moments) I'm able to hold it together, others ..not so much. I think I'm learning when to take a step back... let the grief do what it has to do.
There are times I can't read other grief stories, I can't bear how much I relate to them.., other times I can't tear myself away. Today I found my way to Mitchell's Journey, unable to look away from his father's story.
He speaks and writes beautifully of his son, but most important to me is the photographic story - and what he says about the importance of being a "paparazzi" in your children's lives.
I felt terribly guilty for dangling my iPhone over Finn from the moment we were reunited after his birth. The convenience of being able to take decent photos with a gadget that fits in the palm of my hand was too easy, and even more easy to share instantly with family and friends. I kept telling myself to live in the moment and put the camera down, but I didn't.
How grateful am I now that I have dozens of photos of him - photos in every outfit, at every time of day - and night, in the sunshine, with the dogs, by the fire, outdoors, indoors..., I captured every minute I could. Without those photos now - where would I be? From his growth inside me, to his precious ten+ days, I have it all on digital files, saved forever.
(Due to the mother-daughter code photos shared of Hannah must be approved by her - and for the most part they haven't been since "teen" was added to her age. ...but that doesn't mean I don't take them, save them, and have them all at hand.)
Chris Jones' story is important for another reason - as a father's journey through grief. His words are poignant, thoughtful and not held back by any tough exterior. I think it's often hard for father's to express themselves; Rohan has said a number of times how difficult it is to 'be the man' in this situation, hold it all together.. (...in those early days I don't know how he did it, while I lay motionless). So much of child loss and parental grief is focussed on mothers and how mothers cope. A father's perspective isn't something we've come across much, and certainly not one this beautiful.
Among the photographs and boxes of important things I don't know what to do with, I found some odds and ends of my mother's, some she intentionally left for me with messages scribbled on the envelopes, others just random things I ended up with - notes, drafts, notebooks she kept records in (she kept records of everything).
In a faded grey folder I came across a photocopy of pages from Dinah Shields & Edwina von Baeyer's book A Beginner's Guide to Gardening in Canada.
(von Baeyer's Rhetoric and Roses and Garden Voices being among my favourite garden reads..)
My mother's handwriting (in red pen - she must have been grading papers at the time) dates it 1992 ...
I know in the early 2000's she took a course or two in personal landscaping, hoping to do something pretty with her new construction home & garden - the work for which was put in me as hard labourer. She still didn't have a clue, but her determination was expressed clearly through likes and dislikes over my work. I am still being punished for planting purple (her least favourite colour) delphiniums in her front garden. (I thought they were blue..)
Though her enthusiasm for outdoor gardening may have been underwhelming, her indoor garden was always something spectacular. Also in the faded grey folder, a little pencil written note pulled from one of her many notebooks - on sprouting and growing avocados. My childhood memories of windowsills are not without a small glass of water with an avocado seed balanced on toothpicks half way in water, half exposed. I can't possibly imagine how many avocado plants she grew. I don't think any of them ever grew an avocado, but her plants were gorgeous.
Isn't it something that my mother the reluctant gardener was the first inspiration in my plans for our new garden.
Her Hansa rose will be among the first additions, but I've also just ordered some David Austin roses, a little tender here, but worth it even if for only one season. In my first garden I planted Winchester Cathedral - simply because I loved the fragrance of the blooms, even in the pot at the nursery. It wasn't until it was planted and I introduced it to my mother that she told me of how her and my father watched the changing of the bells at the real Winchester Cathedral while on a belated honeymoon (I think my dad was at a conference and my mother tagged along, but they called it a honeymoon... *academics*).
Ordered today is a new Winchester Cathedral, Golden Celebration, Graham Thomas, Jude the Obscure, and Lady of Shalott.
They're all of the hardier Davis Austin roses (famous for old world style and fragrance), but still considered somewhat tender here. I'm willing to take my chances. I'm eyeing up the sunny beds nearest the house for these, but that would involve the removal of boring shrubs..., which is a lot of work.
I see a lot of shuffling in our garden's future. The Reluctant Gardener pages my mother focused on were shrubs: flowering almonds, ninebark, burning bush... all of which are interesting, and worth considering for spots in this garden as well.
Rhetoric and Roses: A History of Canadian Gardening, 1900-1930
Edwinna Von Baeyer 1984
Garden Voices: Two Centuries of Canadian Garden Writing
Edwina Von Gal, Edwinna Von Baeyer, Pleasance Crawford 1995
Reluctant Gardener: A Beginner's Guide To Gardening In Canada
Hoel Cooper, Edwinna Von Baeyer, Dinah Shields 1992
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
It didn't take long for me, once I smelled the soil and spotted the plug trays, to want to get to planting..., and the day it was set up us die-hards were there at the planting table. It's the only part of the greenhouse season I can't miss out on - the first in years being last year at this time, when my mother was in hospice. I feel disjointed if I don't plant.
I don't mind the cold temperatures of January and February because they usually come with bright sunny days, and crystal clear starry nights. March and April are often dreary, dirty, damp, cold, and generally miserable. To spend those two months surrounded by warm soil under a blue sky roof - who could complain?
|Euphorbia graminea ~ Diamond Frost|
I'm still standing.
The clarity that comes with the energy of being in the greenhouse again has helped in so many ways. My focus on our new garden is pretty clear; I even know how we're going to solve the new-garden-no-vegetable-bed problem so that once outdoor planting weather finally arrives I'll have some place to get my seeds dirty. (stay tuned)
I've already decided to focus on the trees, learning about our new trees, pruning and disease concerns of our new trees, adding birdhouse and feeders to the yard, dividing/moving/transplanting favourite perennials from Pearl, moving/transplanting favourites from around the new garden beds, and the addition of rose bushes.
The rose bushes I add this year will fill our yard with my mother's favourite childhood scent thanks to the wind sweeping across the Port Arthur Ridge to and from Lake Superior. By autumn I hope the yard will display some sort of transformation from bland to beautiful, useful, prosperous, and fruitful.
My father's scientific mind, my mother's artful eye, and my precious son's energy are a part of everything I do now. They'll grow in ways their bodies couldn't, and my only hope is that what comes of it makes a positive impact on the small parts of this earth I can help.