Sunday, February 16, 2020

Death, the Woes of February, and Resurrection

February has always been my least favorite month. Some relish in their birthday months; I am grateful that it is short and will be over soon. I’m sorry to dislike any point of time because now it feels that the days pass by so quickly. I do wish time would slow down. I want to savor in these moments. Well, I want to savor in some of them.

Like the months in my youth when February brought illness and all those awful sinus infections, February 2020 has been especially trying. Emotional turmoil leading to physical sickness; and, then concluding in actual death, although February is not nearly over.  What will come?

I cannot go into detail about the work turbulence but it has been awful. I have smudged my work office three times and the main office once this month with essential oils since I cannot have smoke or flame. Then, my fella’s lifelong dream felt like it ended with a great deal of sadness. Again, this is not my story to tell so I leave the sentence as vague. There is great mourning in our home. Last week, a dear friend’s husband lost his three-year warrior-battle with lung cancer. The funeral was yesterday. Today I am still weary.

Winter Daphne
It has been very cold (for us in Virginia) over the last few days. Before that our weather was spring-like; again, this week will be spring-like as well. We have had rain for nearly two weeks, which has postponed my shed being built but has been good for the grass and our trees and flowers. The Daphne odora or Winter Daphne is almost in full bloom. I learned that in Korea, Daphne is poetically called "churihyang" meaning a thousand-mile scent because of the fragrance of the foliage. I brought some inside last week although all parts of the plant are poisonous to humans; some people experience dermatitis from contact with the sap. This I learned, of course, after I have put my face up close so very often. I wash my hands; I’m not worried. Since we inherited this Daphne with the house and property, I have researched a bit about the plants and found that they have a reputation for being slow growing, difficult and temperamental to grow, and expensive. When she’s not in bloom and I’m not sticking my face into her fragrant but poisonous flowers, which I don’t really have to since you can step out our backdoor and smell her, I leave her alone. She clearly is happy in her spot and has grown by at least ¼ since we moved here a little over a year ago. What I learned today resonates with my overall mood about February; Daphnes are not long lived, and begin deteriorating within 8 to 10 years. Our house is 27 years old. We know the original owners were gardeners. There is so much evidence of that. Then our home went into hands of renters for a good decade. There was much evidence of neglect. Even the copse was overgrown when we moved in. Daphne odora varieties have a lifespan of around 20 years. When was this beauty planted? Is she young or old? Is she in her mid-life? We have no idea just as we have no idea about our own lives. My fella says we’re just going to love her to the end. And, isn’t that the point anyway?

Bela Lugosi Daylily sprouts
On this cold morning, I go out to peep at what is popping up in the garden. The Bela Lugosi daylily is resurrecting itself. There are small leaves reaching out of the soil. We have small hyacinth blooms just starting. And, then, there is the lungwort. 

The lungwort is one of the earliest perennials to flower in the spring. We transplanted this one from my old garden at the townhouse. Much like an evergreen, it hardly goes completely away during our very short winters. The flowers of blue and violet will appear soon. The buds are already there are weird and fuzzy. One of my delights is that the flowers close at night and open again in the morning. The Latin name Pulmonaria comes from pulmo which means, the lung. 

In the seventeenth-century, the plant’s appearance suggested its curative powers and lungwort had a reputation for healing bronchial and lung problems because of its spotted or resembling as being diseased, and roughly lung-shaped leaves. Herbalists today vary on their beliefs of lungwort’s healing powers. Of course, what can stop lung cancer? 

Yesterday’s funeral felt especially sad because it was so personal. My friend’s husband wrote his own funeral program and even a letter to those in attendance. He had been given a 6 month life expectancy upon his diagnosis and then fought to stay alive for three years. The message to those left behind resonates with my garden. Don’t quit and have hope. There is promise in a new day and a new season. 

Spring is coming. And, February will soon end.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

...wee plant post...

I’m trying to write but I am so distracted. 

*whispers* spring is coming. 

Also, take a peep at the start of the spooky shed!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

...this is not a post about the Weebles Haunted House or daybeds...

The Weebles Haunted House with a witch and a glow-in-the-dark ghost and two scared Weebles kids includes a revolving bookshelf with a secret hiding place, a trunk with bats, a chimney chute to drop the Weebles from the attic to the second floor, and, my favorite, a creaking door sound when the house is opened.

It was featured in the 1976 and 1977 JCPenney’s Christmas Wish Books and in the 1977 Sears Christmas Wish Book. Somewhere around that time, I received it as a gift probably from Santa. It was my first haunted house and my favorite childhood toy. I still love pushing the Weebles down the chimney chute and I still love the revolving bookshelf with the fun-house mirror on the other side. I love all the details of the d├ęcor from the cobwebs to the witch family portrait with their cauldron. I love the ghost in the mirror and I love the bats in the trunk. 

For more than a decade, I’ve been asking my parents if I could get my original version from their attic. They will; they promise.

The thing is, while my folks were always pack rats saving this and that, my mother is now a hoarder. I briefly mention it in a prior post and I feel uncomfortable going into detail here because it is a private matter; and, I do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Family relationships are complicated. My mother and I have a complicated relationship. I’m just going to leave it at that.

For over a decade, I also have asked for my college daybed. At some point from move to move, I left my bed at my parents. They never used it as an actual bed. It was always a place on which items could be placed. When I finally bought my own home, I wanted it for the townhome and I asked if they could clear it off so I could bring it to my place to use. They will; they promise.

Now, we’ve been in our house for over a year and I had hoped to move the daybed into my study so that my brother and far-away friends would have a place to stay that wasn’t the sofa. Finally, during the summer in a moment of *F-This! Why am I waiting?* I bought a daybed. I actually like it a bit better. My old daybed is a black iron bed and the back came to a gothic arch. It was the coolest daybed I had seen (in 1993) but it does take up a bit of wall space. This new one has more subtle gothic arches and the off-white blends in a bit better. It fits in my study where I do my course prep, crafting, and writing. It’s a small place that is somewhat tight now that everything is in it but I like it and it’s a place of my very own. I remember how my therapist cheered when I told her about the bed because it isn’t just about a daybed. It’s about removing some expectations and metaphorically cleaning-up some emotional baggage.

This leads to me to some point muttering to my best friend, whom I call Babushka, that the Weebles Haunted House was the last thing that I needed from my parent’s house. Yes, it would be fun to see my old, very loved Pound Puppy and the countless other toys that were saved but the Weebles Haunted House is something that I would want to display in my house.

So, Babushka being who she is, searched and found a near new Weebles Haunted House to give to me for Christmas. I cried not because I have a Weebles Haunted House to play with, which is cool in itself. But, Babushka understands the “wills” and “promises” and the baggage.   

In the end, when I am called to clean up the hoarded clutter, she will be the one who is there holding my hand, telling me it will be okay, not my husband who has never set foot in my childhood home. I won’t allow it. I didn’t grow up with the house looking as it does now and I don’t want him to see it like that. When I take pictures of the clutter that is up to the ceiling in my childhood bedroom, I send them to Babushka because she remembers what my childhood bedroom looks like. She was there; she will always be there. She promises.