flowers, humor, photography

3 on 1 on 3

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I saw something on 2016-07-06 that I had never seen before, in about 40 yrs of making daylily bouquets.  I saw 3 flowers blooming on 1 stalk.  It was on day 3 for a batch of stalks I had cut.  (By cutting about as many stalks with mature buds as with open flowers, I get a batch that supports 4 or 5 days of bouquets.)  While I see 2 flowers on 1 stalk much less often than just 1, I do see 2 on 1 often enough to take it in stride.  Seeing 3 on 1 was a pleasant reminder that there may still be new wonders to be directly experienced, even in the same old yard.

3-on-1

Hope nobody misconstrued the title of this post as a reference to a bizarre kind of group sex.

enlightenment, flowers, history, humor, language, photography

Lion’s Tooth

I like the scattered violets that appeared in my lawn some years ago.  In the spring I let the grass get high before I mow, so that the violets will have a good chance to set seed.  The delay also gives the dandelions a good chance to set seed.  Fine.

DandelionViolets

Would the dandelion have a better rep if we had translated (rather than anglicized) the Old French name?  Not likely.  Every flower is the same bright yellow, so there is no variation for plant breeders to coax toward white or red and then offer “Snow Ball Lion’s Tooth” or “Fire Ball Lion’s Tooth” in seed catalogs.  Any klutz can grow dandelions, so they give gardeners no bragging rights.

Nowadays the French have a derogatory-sounding name for dandelions.  Were the royal gardeners frustrated by the plant’s defiance of the oppressive formality of the plantings at Versailles?  The Germans have kept the good old phrase “lion’s tooth” (in their own language, of course), as have the Italians and the Spanish.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

When many people see a dandelion, they see a weed.  I don’t.  I see Löwenzahn, the Wagnerian Heldenblume that thrusts green and gold into the grayest and grimmest of our cityscapes.  I see Dent de Lion, the Enlightenment philosophe whose call for liberty and rationality rides the wind.

DandelionSeeds_few

I do pull weeds; I do not pull dandelions.

Flower of the Day – July 20, 2018 – Dandelion

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flowers, haiku, love, photography

Confluence

I took my favorite photo of my late wife Edith in 1981, long before she showed symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.  This post is about one aspect of the endgame that may be helpful to others in a similar situation.
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daffodils-closeEdith-1981I took my favorite photo of my late wife Edith in 1981, long before she showed symptoms of the disease that would dominate our lives in the current century.  Alzheimer’s.  I cared for her in our own home as long as possible; I visited often during her final years in a nursing home.  This post is about one aspect of the endgame that may be helpful to others in a similar situation.

In Edith’s childhood home city, the Ohio River emerges from the confluence of smaller rivers.  Three streams flow together at the end of this post.  Please bear with me.

  1. The plantings around our house were few and scraggly when we moved in.  Over the years, I planted trees and shrubs while Edith planted bulbs.  Lots of bulbs.  She was especially proud of the many kinds of daffodil, blooming at various times thruout the season.  Long after she stopped gardening, she enjoyed the flowers every year.
  2. When Edith was in custodial care but still aware of who and where she was, the saddest moments came when she said she wanted to go home.  I distracted her as best I could, never said anything to indicate that her condition precluded that, and never said that I would “go home” when it was time to end a visit.
  3. Many years ago, we had seen ads for cemetary plots, discussed what was and was not a good way to use land, and decided that we preferred cremation.  When I began considering specific arrangements for Edith in 2014, I found that there are astonishingly many styles of urn available online.  Stardust Memorials had one that would have pleased Edith as a vase for a bouquet of her daffodils.  Packed carefully and shipped promptly, the urn was ready when the dreaded phone call came.

“Are you ready to bring Edith home now?”  The funeral director’s question at the end of the calling hours brought me a sense of relief.  She could come home at last, in our own car.  While she waited for reunion with her favorite flowers in the spring of 2015, I began what eventually became a trilogy of haiku.

daffodils-medium

Widower’s Song #1
|No haiku can say
|how strange this is: her journey
|ended before mine.

Widower’s Song #2
|Warm earth welcomed her,
|ashes among daffodils
|she planted and loved.

Widower’s Song #3
|Ghosts do not haunt me.
|Remembered joys can often
|overcome regrets.

Update [2017-01-15]

In response to Sometimes Stellar Storyteller Six Word Story Challenge:

I scattered
her ashes
among daffodils.

Buddhism, flowers, haiga, haiku, photography, quote, riff

Riff on a Quote

We expand one of the Dalai Lama’s remarks about being happy (as quoted in a CDHK challenge) with a haiku touching on other things to be also.  Can we illustrate the haiku with a photo?

“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”

Being calm and compassionate is also important in Buddhism, so I have responded to

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #72 Use that quote

by expanding the Dalai Lama’s quote about being happy into a haiku about being all 3.  Rhododendrons originated in Asian mountains, so a photo with 3 clusters of their blossoms seems appropriate for illustrating the rather abstract haiku to follow.

Rhodo_928x599

Riff on a Quote from
|Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama)

|Be calm and happy.
|Give loving help to those
|who are frantic or sad.

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baseball, flowers, haiku, humor, photography

Orange and Blue

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orange-blue_938x337I had no interest in baseball during my misspent youth.  My late wife had some interest in it, her interest was contagious, and we had become casual fans of the NY Mets by the time they won their 2nd World Series in 1986.  With stamina unthinkable today, we saw the sights in Washington DC by day and watched much of the 1986 World Series by night, on the big TV in our motel room.  There were no games on the nights of travel days, but we managed.

While fans of the NY Yankees got to see many more wins over the years, Mets fans got to see more strategy because there is no designated hitter in the National League.  A great baseball team has an unusual combination of strategic leadership, individual initiative, and teamwork.  It is like a great army, but nobody gets killed.  Moreover, a not-great team can try again next year.

Tho definitely not a great team in most years, the Mets did and do have great colors: a strong orange and a strong blue, much like the colors in my photo.  Many fond memories of 1986 were refreshed by seeing orange and blue on a great postseason team in 2015, in addition to seeing them on foliage walks.

October is blessed with a riot of reds and yellows (and some persistent bright greens), as well as the glorious oranges of many of the sugar maples (Acer saccharum), some of the red maples (Acer rubrum), and NY Mets uniforms (but only in a few special years).  One color I seldom see in October is pink.  In 2015 I saw that also.

cactus_oak_888x504

Willful Cactus
|My “Christmas” cactus
|blooms whenever it pleases.
|Pink for Halloween!

 

flowers, haiku, photography

Fall Preview

As happens in many years where I live, late August of 2015 was a sneak preview of fall, the year’s best season.  August teases; September backslides and hesitates; October triumphs in the end.
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WiPachysandra_842x582

As happens in many years where I live, late August of 2015 was a sneak preview of fall, the year’s best season:

Days are still too warm, but more are dry and breezy while fewer are hot and humid.  A few cool nights lead to chilly mornings, and I suddenly notice that my garden flag with a picture of phlox is out-of-season.  The roadsides have goldenrod and purple loosestrife now.

Virginia creeper is turning, as are some red maples in wet areas.  Nearly all the healthy trees are still green, but there is a hint of yellow in many of those greens.  The process will slow to a crawl in September; I will spend much of that month grumbling when the weather backslides and thinking “C’mon! C’mon!” when I look at green leaves.

OnRock_825x619

October
|Bright sun and cool air;
|azure skies and pumpkin pies.
|Leaves fall in glory.