I catch glimpses of my Nana's sensibilities (and sentimentalities) in myself, more and more every day. How so, you ask? I offer you five examples:
1. A couple of days ago, this pair of mallards landed in our yard. I'm not sure what they were looking for–the closest water source is my neighbor's pool (although there's a stream bed a few blocks away). Anyway, after strolling through my new rose bed, they ambled across the road.
Along came an SUV, barreling toward both ducks. I flapped my arms and shouted, "Ducks! Watch out!" The driver screeched to a stop. He slouched in his seat, likely at the thought of the narrowly-averted tragedy. Or maybe he was frightened by the wild-eyed woman who waved him down? I swan, I just about had a heart attack myself, right then and there.The ducks? They kept right on waddling, utterly nonplussed…
2. The yard into which the ducks shuffled next belonged to my dearly departed neighbor. Jan's front yard's a shambles now, but it used to be a caliope of roses, hibiscus, and gardenias–the pride and joy of the entire neighborhood. She tended her flowers every morning and evening…until she couldn't any longer. The house sold quickly, and the new owners just moved in. A young couple, really nice. But because they have a toddler, they plan to remove all the landscaping out front…sooner than later, as finances permit.
We understand their reasoning, but the entire neighborhood has once again fallen into grief. We loved Jan's flowers as much as she did, and are anguished to think that her beloved rose beds–her legacy–will disappear without a trace. So when our new neighbors offered me as many roses as I wanted to take, I seized the opportunity.
I struggled mightily with the larger ones, but the thorns were too sharp, the roots too stubborn. Still, I managed to dig up three mid-sized bushes all by myself, and transplanted them into a flower bed in my backyard. I'm wishing on imaginary dandelion puffs now, like Nana taught me long ago. I'm so hoping that they'll make it!!
3. Good news: our orioles are back! And you know what that means, right? TIme to buy some more grape jelly! Nana would've loved to watch them flit from tree to tree. Knowing her, she'd probably sneak an extra pinch of sugar into the nectar while it's cooking…
I took this photo last year. I'll try for a better shot this spring/summer.
4. I'm reading WRITING PAST DARK: Envy, Fear, Distractions, and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life. (I wish I could remember who it was that mentioned this wonderful book on their blog, so I could thank them properly!) Bonnie Friedman's an amazing writer, and though I'm reluctant to single out any one chapter, I confess to tearing up while reading, "Your Mother's Passions, Your Sister's Woes: Writing About the Living." Just like my Nana, Ms. Friedman illustrates Truth With story. I love that kind of writing, don't you?
5. One by one, my longtime LiveJournal friends are leaving for greener pastures. I mourn the loss of everyone who leaves us, feel sad when their moving trucks rumble down the street. Nothing is permanent, but LJ felt less transient than most blog platforms…until it didn't. And if I weren't so attached to this place, if I weren't so reluctant to learn all I need to make the shift myself, I'd probably be digging up my own rosebeds about now. But I can't bring myself to do that–not yet, anyway.
Instead, I cling tight to my belief that, despite any temporary transplant shock, the friendships we've cultivated here will survive–and thrive. Here I am again, blowing dandelion wishes into the wind. But as my Nana used to say, "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride." So I'm also thinking about what I might do to help smooth these transitions. The odds are better, I've found, when I choose action over chance.