The garden is no longer neglected. In my mind, it’s on hold. It’s slowly starting up again (really coming to life for the first time) and I’m introducing John to it little by little.
His first unique seed experience was this ‘Cruel’ vine seed head (Araujia sericifera). It’s the only one produced by this non-hardy vine that has survived a few too many winters here in Oregon. I grew if from seed. To see it set seed after several years is very exciting to me.
The vine is in front of the house and isn’t really that special. It chokes out all that gets in its way and I was getting tired of its unneighborly behavior. Then it bloomed rows of small, pretty white fragrant flowers and my dislike (aka hatred) for the plant relented.
I am a proud mama now. I can’t kill my baby. I’ve got to collect its seeds!
The small autumn-blooming Camellia ‘Silver Dollar’ is currently bursting with blooms. I appreciate and admire its restraint and grace. So many of the other garden plants are dressed up like painted ladies this time of year. I love the little touch of class this plant offers my eyes.
The Amsonia I grew from seed a few years ago is looking beautiful next to this Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)—speaking of painted ladies!
Life in the house and garden is changing though. Our family has changed and I’m working more and more outside of the house now.
Maurice the Cat is ever the trooper and despite his age, arthritic pain, and weight problem, he’s soldiering on and has enjoyed every last bit of sunshine he can grasp in his polydactyl paws.
Cats do not like change and only now are they trusting that their lives are not being tossed hither and thither.
The leaves are changing and falling. The air is crisp and tonight we may have some frosty temps in the Portland metro area.
It’s a beautiful time of the year and I’m preparing again to participate in NaNoWriMo.
I’m writing a novel again in November—but unlike last year—this story is fully cooked and ready to go. I am also preparing to write many other things. Actually, I’m already doing so. It’s time. I am well enough now.
There is still some physical recovery to do. A decade of illness is not easy to repair. I need to lose more weight. My blood pressure and heart need a break. I’ve lost a lot of weight and have continued to regain and build muscle but my body needs to be leaner and meaner. I am caring for me now and it feels good too.
I will do all of these things that I’ve set out to do now. That’s what I do. That’s what I’ve always done. It’s good to be me again.
I’m working as a caregiver now, and I work all kinds of odd shifts with the elderly and those in hospice.
Illness has prepared me for this and I’m comfortable and confident with what I’m doing.
It’s not a forever job, but for now, I’m enjoying the pleasure of working hard and the opportunity of getting to know new and interesting people.
They’ve lived different lives than mine and we honor and respect one another as we work through basic daily tasks that have become increasingly more difficult for the clients. The adjustment has not been easy for me, but it’s improving. I know what I’m doing and I know that I can help them.
It feels good.
This autumn we’ve talked a lot about eventually buying a place in the country near the ocean. I’ve thought about the garden it would have and what palate of plants I would pick. This is another project I’m working on right now.
I’ve never really designed a project like this, but oddly, I’m ready and willing to accept the challenge.
This has led to me thinking a lot about my own design aesthetic. I never knew I had one but it runs through almost everything I do. It ties into the novel writing, so I’m a happily contained little mind now. Inside I am germinating.
There have been many meals and many recipes recently. John has been cooking new things, learning new techniques in the kitchen, and he’s been shopping at farmer’s markets. As for me, I’m in love with my Cauliflower (Brassica) ‘Minaret’. Yes, I’ve been cooking too, but I’ve been enjoying all of John’s food more. I’m proud of him. He’s a great cook.
For me, food has become another job. This is a good thing—literally, a job! I’m still kind of in shock this even happened, but it did.
So, it’s exciting to announce this publicly. Here goes: I’ve been hired to work as a ghost blogger for a food blogger. That is all I can say, since I am obviously a ghost blogger, but to say that the experience is thrilling is an understatement. I want to be a paid writer. I crave it. I need it. I would like to continue working as an editor too. With this opportunity, I will be able to do both of these things.
And from here it will only get better…
Lastly, I’ve returned to arranging flowers and that’s been good for me during the times when I still feel chronic pain from either swelling or injuries I sustained years ago. I’m arranging plant material weekly in an effort to relieve stress and to be creative. It gets my juices flowing and it gives me a problem to solve. I relish that kind of thing.
The whole process brings a kind of value to my life that’s irreplaceable.
It’s still cleanup time in the garden—my garden: I’m still blogging, there are seeds to sow, I see a future garden to begin designing, and there are many words in the air. My mind has been swept and it is still a bit shady in there, but I see leaks of light and the words are in lines now that float and I can grasp their syntax.
Someday I will describe the mind of chronic pain to show how dull and slow it can become and how one can lose so many words. The feelings and thoughts were all inside of me but I couldn’t get them out. I struggled. I was inarticulate for so many years.
It is difficult when the words come to me quickly now. I still feel as though I’m sitting behind the wheel of a fast car as the words pour out. I know that I am not yet as suave as I once was though, I’m rough, I repeat a lot. I could use better words—and I will.
But I will use them for my novel and it will have a garden and it will have plants and there will be so many other wonderful things. My many layers are peeling away now and as winter comes low over the horizon from the cold north I will let the chilling winds lay bare that which I want so badly to articulate but have yet been unable to do so.
4 thoughts on “An Autumn Field Report”
I loved reading this outpouring. I knew about some of it already because we're friends on Facebook. Congrats on the jobs. It's great that your novel for November is so well-formed and just ready to flow. I don't know what your plans are for it, but I know it would be an interesting read. I would also have a hard time ripping out a plant that I grew from seed, especially if it was producing progeny.
I just want to tell you that I appreciate the way you let us into so many little private corners of your life and mind. I'm rooting for you.
Oh those private corners! Some folks dislike this kind of online behavior. I'm a confessional writer and I always adored ladies like Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton for their honesty and craft. (I'd like to live though. I like life.) On the other hand, I'm the daughter of two controlling narcissists and I've spent a lot of my life trying to differentiate myself from both of them since narcissists cannot see you as separate from themselves. Lastly though, I'm a garden blogger and I very much believe that every great garden is a reflection of its owner. Gardens without people are meaningless to me, gardens without voices are even worse. So often I see no subjects, only objects, and they are arranged just so. Many gardens reflect that vapidness and I think sometimes blogs can too. Gardens are really meaningless without the stories and lives people bring to them. That's just my little tiny humble opinion.