About Me

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I'm a woman entering "the third chapter" and fascinated by the journey.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Endings and Beginnings

Yet another fall is bringing yet more endings. A colleague's spouse died last week--just in her sixties, but after a long struggle with Alzheimer's. Another colleague, still in her fifties, died a few days later from a stroke, her youngest grandchild only three weeks old. At today's funeral home visitation, everyone still looked shell-shocked, not having expected that the bubbly woman we had left planning the college's fall craft show would be hit that night with major brain trauma from which she would never recover. A dear friend lost her father to heart failure earlier in the month, while a church friend and yet another coworker are battling cancer. Too much loss. Too much grief.

But this is a time of beginnings, too. Besides the aforementioned grandchild, who today was being doted on by a variety of people, a pair of former students announced yesterday that they are expecting a child. Even the long-suffering spouse and I are starting over, preparing to leave Chipmunk Ridge for a flat in a downtown duplex. As much as we would love to transplant our entire block, we are ready to abandon what has come to feel too much like suburban living: I had not realized the degree to which I would miss streets with wide planting strips between the sidewalks and the cars, and the option of walking anywhere I need to go (with the exception of work, the college being where it is). Downsizing and heading back to the town where I had lived for a quarter-century feels right.

But transplanting is happening. While our move won't take place until the new year, our lawn strips are already home to some favorite plants. This particular new beginning is our first pollinator bed, which next summer should add a little color and life to an old neighborhood.

Stay tuned to see who shows up for the seed and nectar feast.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Winter ys icumen in

I won't follow up with Ezra Pound's profane comment on the return of cold weather, but we, like everyone else, it seems, have been suffering through a bout of what seems unseasonable cold. If we had any pumpkins, the frost would definitely be on them. But there are compensations for the cold:
  • Outside work slows down. If the plants aren't growing, they don't need to be mowed, deadheaded, or weeded.
  • The birds put on a show, feasting on the seedheads of the now-dead perennials and coming to the feeders in greater numbers.
  • A few trees keep their leaves after most of the others have gone, extending the fall show and making us appreciate them more than when everyone is showing off.
  • Sycamores come into their own when we can see their elegant bark.
  • The juncos come back from the boreal forest to spend their winters with us.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fall color

We all ooh and ah over the look-at-me color changes trees go through, but this fall has brought color changes much closer to the ground to my awareness. This was the first year that I had noticed that liatris leaves turn red (lousy photo, but this one shows the truest color).

Aromatic aster and muhlenbergia capillaris put on quite a show

though the muhly does all right by itself.

Aromatic aster, by the way, is a great favorite with late bees, and clump-forming grasses like the muhlenbergia make good hideaways for young bumblebee queens, who need someplace warm to spend the winter.

My favorite outdoor chair faces the savannah garden, a late-afternoon view that would inspire me to Impressionist-style painting if I had any artistic talent.

It's amazing what a little sunlight does for a few fading perennials.