Friday, April 22, 2005

April Home Again, Sweetly Scented Home

Whenever I travel, the first thing I do upon my return is look at the plants. Everything seems to be thriving. Just one red specimen left of the tulips. The freesias are giving way to the iris, and my wall of sweet peas is slowly rising, green leaves mortared by strong green stems. I cut my first Mr. Lincoln rose last night. It ages to more of a cherry-red than I'd expected, but a spectacular rose. The yellow rose I'd saved years ago from a neighbor's remodel is finally hitting its stride. It was very diseased last year, and wasn't getting enough sun under the mulberry. But thanks to M's hard tree pruning last year and a thick application of chemicals last month, it's now swaying in the breeze like a tethered golden cloud. The carnivorous plants are putting on quite a show, too, tilting their magenta pageboys down toward their swampy soil. I need to deadhead the pansies in the front bed and strategically snake the soaker hose that we purchased recently at Costco among the pink rose, snapdragons, stock, white clematis clinging to the piano harp, chartreuse euphorbia, and fuzzy lamb's ear that comprise the front bed. Oh, to not have to water that bed with the sprinkler, though the birds love it. (Speaking of birds, today I actually had to yank down a huge stalk of wild grass hanging down in front of the breezeway from the eaves of the house that a sparrow had tried to incorporate into its nest.)


M and I are looking for readings for the ceremony, and he reminded me that he he had penned a sonnet in my honor a few years ago, so I've spent an hour digging through my memento boxes in the hall closet. I was afraid I had put it in a special place for safe-keeping--so special that I wouldn't be able to find it, but I did. (And of course I came across photos of Tomcat: looking regal under the camellia bush, playing rough with the wild kittens born in our garage that adored him, posing for a formal portrait on the dining room table. Ah, my poor kittybaby...)

I also found this poem in one of my journal-scrapbooks, and since I dared Rebecca to put up one of her own poems during this, National Poetry Month, with the promise that I would too, here she blows:

I have:
The round rock from a river
Julia gave me
fossil-embossed stones
from my mother's husband's mother
lava from my grandfather's farm
sediment layers that crumble
from a cousin's lakeside shore.

At what age did these stones acquire
meaning and memory?
The sentiment they contain
pales beside the ages
they have endured. And what
Have they endured?
Who deciphers their impressions
gathered throughout millennia?
Are the impressions of a
bird's wing against the sky any
less weighty? Or the sun's
hot wilt on my rose's petals
less consequential?

But these
records wear away--
as does memory
becoming a heavy impenetrable
stone, calcified layers
passively caressed and reshaped
by other forces
perhaps invisible
perhaps tangible
a too-ripe heady blossom exploding in my hand.

I'm not sure about that last line.


While I'm on the subject of poetry, I'm listening to an NPR story on high schoolers in New Mexico who can letter in poetry. Yeah, baby!


I came down with a cold during the conference, which was horrid. I couldn't talk, which is my main job duty during events. My sleep was fitful, I had no energy, and couldn't focus well. But, I got through it. Two down, four to go.

Perhaps it was because I wasn't feeling well, but during the conference I reverted to a habit I thought I'd kicked: purchasing desperately inexpensive clothes. A colleague and I escaped to a dumpy Ross (two doors down from the wonderful south Indian restaurant we go to every conference we have here which I didn't get to this time because I felt too crappy) for a little "retail therapy" as Meggin Cabot calls it. I came away with sneakers for M, a cute black top, and a really cheap suit. And cheap in every sense: price, material, construction, and sadly, style. But the color is a lovely royal purple, and while I won't wear the hoochie-mama-ish pants, the jacket is actually pretty versatile. The cost of this polyester wonder? $18.99. That's right, less than 20 bucks. One of the thrills of Ross is paying $25 for a sweater with the original price tag still attached for four times that amount, so I knew the suit was a dicey proposition when the suggested retail price for it was a mere $39.99. But I now have a jacket and pants for less than the price of M and me going out to see a movie.


At 7:57 PM, April 22, 2005, Blogger Rebecca said...

A lovely poem!And thanks for naming your flowers and describing your yard. I love your descriptions, and I wish I knew that much about flowers. Welcome back.


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