I love this pond, tucked next to a path through “my” woods. It is one of my favorite places and I’ve learned to step carefully around a mass of prickly bushes to get the perfect view. Without falling in. A photographer’s delight.
Depending on the time of day, I never know what magic the light will be playing on the water’s surface. On this day in May it was…trees everywhere!
I enjoy photographing trees in all their sizes, shapes and seasons. During a recent walk around a nearby neighborhood I looked up and noticed a tree branch…reaching out. Or something. A cloud also caught my eye. I do tend to see things that aren’t intentional. One might call that an overactive imagination. Or I am easily entertained. No matter.
My daughter had been checking out the newly installed garden beds that bordered her backyard. It was a hot, muggy afternoon. A recent rain shower had given way to bright sunshine. Well…June in Washington DC is often hot and muggy – not my favorite weather, but I admit her urgency piqued my curiosity…heat or no heat. So I grabbed my camera, stepped out of the air conditioned living room and joined her to see what she had found.
My husband and I were at the end of a week long visit to DC to celebrate our grandson’s 5th birthday…and to meet our 2 week old granddaughter. Up until then most of my camera clicking had been focused on them. A fun challenge with a constantly in motion 5 year old (the “sports setting” came in handy!), but far easier with a baby who stays put.
Once outside, I was not disappointed. New flowers had recently bloomed and among them…Passion Flowers! I had never seen one before, but upon further research I learned they attract butterflies, bees and hummingbirds. More photo opportunities for my next visit…along with the smiling faces of those two sweet children.
It was a month ago yesterday. A day split in two…spent jumping across a great divide between a mountain of horror and one of profound joy. And then back again. The beginning of a surreal progression of hours and days trying to make sense of the first part. While rejoicing in the second part. I had no head space for much of anything else.
Are you sitting down? My youngest sister’s first words hit me like a tidal wave when I answered the phone. I could barely understand anything else she was trying to say. Through the tears. And the terror…as her voice rose in pitch. What is it? Please slow down!I can’t understand you. Are You Sitting Down? I had just finished lunch. I sat back down. In bits and pieces she told me…our other sister’s only son had killed himself. He was found the next day, alone in his apartment. No No No The despair filled my heart and it broke. It broke for my other sister and her daughter and the unimaginable loss of a son and brother. It broke for the rest of the family – aunts, uncles, cousins, grandfather, a niece & nephew. My son and daughter had visited their cousins last fall. The last time they would ever see him. Why? Do you know why? No, there wasn’t a note. We asked each other…But how can this be? He was such a kind and gentle soul. We went back and forth in disbelief for a few minutes, both of us crying & shouting and trying to understand the enormity of it. No No No this can’t be real. He was only 34 years old. My mind flew back 20+ years to family reunions and to when he came along on several family vacations with us. He and my son became close and were sweet playmates during those times…separated in age by only a year. That’s how I will always remember him…the smart, funny, kind of goofy kid who told me when he was 11 that he wanted to be a businessman when he grew up. And that’s what he did.
As it often happens, family gatherings and reunions became fewer and farther between as the years went by. Eventually just limited to weddings…and funerals. I hadn’t seen my nephew in person since his older sister got married in 2013, when he walked her down the aisle…their father long since passed.
You figure there’s always time. Until there isn’t. You think someone is okay because they act like they are. But sometimes they aren’t. Do we see what we want to see or do we need to look deeper…ask more questions? Are we afraid to do just that? Afraid of the dark places ourselves? I really don’t know. I also don’t know how his mom…my sister…will ever survive her grief…as strong as she is.
One hour after my sister’s call…a text message from my son-in-law…we are in the hospital. My daughter was 9 months pregnant and this surely meant good news. Two hours later…my cell phone dings with another text message. Up pops a photo of my daughter, son-in-law and their brand new baby girl…snuggled on her mother’s chest cozy as can be. My little granddaughter was born right on her due date – healthy, safe and perfect in every way. The photos kept coming and filled me with a soft ray of hope and calm as I fell in love with her on the spot…even though I live 500 miles away. That night we met on FaceTime and I gratefully lept over the divide to the mountain of profound joy…on the day split in two.
One month – and one week long visit later – and I am still rejoicing. Thank you sweet girl.
My friend and I were walking along the path behind our condo building last week. We had been deadheading some sad looking daffodils and stopped to admire a mass of iris. She and her husband had saved these bulbs from their previous home and stealthily planted them next to our building 3 years ago. As many of you know, iris spread…and spread. When you live in a condo, you sometimes have to get permission to plant anything. And when you’ve been a “house owner” for decades, it’s an unpopular concept. What could be wrong with sprucing up the place with some iris? Believe me, there are people who will count the ways. But don’t get me started.
Anyway, I am so grateful these purple iris spring from the ground each May. They are exactly like the iris I left behind at the house we sold almost 5 years ago. Iris that originated in my great grandmother’s garden decades and decades before. When you move in December, digging holes to plant iris bulbs is not an option.
So when my friend whipped out her scissors to cut off a small branch, I hesitated. It didn’t seem right somehow. They were so happy in the sun, swaying gently in the breeze. She was holding a stem with one flower and several buds all lined up together. Shouldn’t they be allowed to stay put? But before I knew it, she snipped.
I brought it inside, filled a bud vase with water and flower food and hoped for the best. After several days in its new home near a sunny window, the buds opened…one by one. Much to my relief and delight.
During a photo shoot yesterday…with my hibiscus plant…I was initially focused (no pun intended) on the bright yellow flowers that had just opened up. I have discovered that they don’t last long. Each bloom makes an appearance for only a day or two. I’ve only been in charge of this plant for a week (it was a gift) and found out the hard way…thinking oh that’s so pretty in the afternoon light, I’ll take a picture tomorrow. By the next day, the bloom would be folded inward – closed for the season.
However, yesterday afternoon I acted in the moment. The sunlight hit the flowers on display as I rotated and moved the pot off the shelf chasing the light in the living room. When I put the plant back, I glanced down and noticed a single bud that never made it to the blossom stage (or was long past it, I have no idea what went on before I received Ms. H). It had fallen off the plant and was resting on the shelf, alone and forgotten. I couldn’t look away. So, before the glories of yellow hibiscus flowers appear on Macro Monday, behold the lonely former or almost-a-bud.