Tag: journey

Garden Fill

I was on the couch ,wrapped up in a small shoulder wrap I had found in a closet. The Oatmeal colored wrap was warm and light, I shivered under the knitted lacy trim. ‘There was a nip in the air, enough to cool down my room, my office ,I guess. I didn’t have work to do but? ‘ The book that I had pulled out of the library was balanced on the pillow. I had the sketches laid out on the coffee table. We were meeting for lunch, and were discussing the Ankh garden, I guess.
A lot of guessing this morning, more so than ordinary, I was getting bored and tired. Sighing, I wondered if Marie and Joy were going to speak to me anytime . I wanted the familiarity of visits from my “maiden” aunts. I wanted the safety of last week, if I couldn’t be home. Wiping my tears and shaking my hair, I wanted to go home, even if it meant being ostracized . Even if my sister criticized my make-up, my haircut and my clothes, I looked down at my purple and white top and pants. They fit well AND it was so comfortable to have different clothes, for going out. I straightened the sleeves so that the ink stains didn’t show from the front, at least.
The pictures of the plants looked pretty but too small and dark.! I flipped through the book. ‘ Where are the Tiger day lilies and the Black eyed Susans or the White daisies ?’ I wondered. I wanted to put a brilliant rainbow in the ground. I had spent an hour looking for some bright colored flowers or trees to plant in the sunny outward long straight leg of the design. ” I must not know where to look. I just want some cheerful and familiar colors.” I muttered to myself. Stretching all the way to the side, I bounced up, as the blue pants and the black striped orange jacket righted itself in my field of vision. He had a box in his hands and his shoulders bounced in a shrug.

“A garden is a place to enjoy and share. Its’ lay out and the plants chosen tell stories and give lectures on the importance and need of being with the other parts of the physical world, a separate place that lives without the mechanizations of humans.” I picked up my carefully laid out public spaces with the paths and cubbyhole benches, that was partly maze and partly home. ‘There was a place called Daughtrey Gardens . It was my favorite place to go and wander around. I’d walk there wondering how the gardeners could do such a masterful job.” He was staring out the window , like a lab partner who didn’t realized how hard the job was going to be.
I sipped my water and sighed. ‘The plans would go in my memory box upstairs.’ I decided ,wrapping my finger around the corners. ” I had just noticed that the flowers in my plans were how the beds in front of the Daughtrey gardens were planted. The exception being that those plants were labeled in botanical jargon. If they weren’t going to be used, then I could mess around with them and maybe plant some anyway. ? ‘ I looked down at the cookies . “They aren’t the Gardens bakery cookies ” . I shoved them away.
He squeezed my hand. ” Master of plants, since you are so curious about your environment. I dig some digging of my own. ” He handed me a card with a picture of the commons sketched into it. He smiled that crooked , slanted smile. ” We are going into the lair of learning. ” When I frowned, he laughed. ” a saying from my part of the country Get some shoes on and let’s go to some lectures.
I blinked . ” We are going back to School as in across to the other buildings?”

Stepping off the grid

I was out in the garden, there were so many weeds. Mom had always said that plants were crowded out and if you wanted your bushes or planted to be healthy, then you needed to give them room to get plenty of sun and food. I wasn’t sure how much sun they were getting. As my eyes refocused back to earth, the tall man with the cinnamon hair ,who had sounded so sharp in the kitchen and the hallway several days back, was now walking towards me.
Coming down the pathway, looking completely out of place, he looked down at me. Frowning and scrunching up his nose as if the whole of native plant life smelled unpleasant. “Joy and Marie seem to think that I could be of help to you. They didn’t know” – he stepped on a whole tuff of dandelions, “I don’t do well with transplants.” He walked back towards the side door.
I wiped my nose with the back of my hand. “With what?” I left my piles of pulled up weeds and seeds on the gravel . A flock of birds were punctuating the air with their calls. I looked for them but I didn’t’ see them.
The humid air was getting heavy and dirty. The sky looked light gray and pale purple. I stood up with my gloves in my hand. I wanted to go in anyway. The tea should still be on the side table.

Entering the darkness of the room, he stopped and did a slow survey of the room. “I always thought the room was logically laid out.” He circled the couch, sidestepping the work/coffee table.
” I don’t understand the attraction of it. It’s too far away and too small, but if I want to find people then they seem to be here.” He sat on the couch, depositing his box, he stretched out his legs.
” I was told that you were out walking in the median on your own.” The way he said it, I thought I was being accused of skipping out on curfew!. The hair on my neck itched. ‘blast it all, I hadn’t done anything wrong’ the thought slowed my response. Joy’s friend? or?
“Excuse me, I don’t recall your name..” I spread out my fingers and held up my hands. ” I was out walking, the grounds are so wide and friendly. Who ever works on them, does a terrific job” This is the tactic I had used for defusing a difficult person. ‘ I had wanted to turn in a compliment for the grounds, anyway’ I thought to myself.

” I understand that you had a talk with Peters ” He looked up at me and went silent as a statute. I met his gaze with a stony one of my own. “I went walking out on the center grounds. Since most of my friends were tied up with their proj-responsibiities, I wanted a break from my work. I guess I needed some change of scenery.” I crossed in front of him and sat down on the center of the couch.( at least, it wasn’t MY couch ) . He rummaged through his box, without responding to anything I said. He pulled out a bag and dumped the coins on the table top. Wincing I hope that the coins didn’t scratch up or damage the table top. There were some that I recognize from coffees and some that appeared very old. I looked at the man and waited.
He drew in a sigh. ” I suppose that it wouldn’t hurt to review coinage. I have heard that the small growing communities trade with other things besides coinage.” He rubbed his nose and glanced over the mess. ” Let’s start with frequent ones. Pick out a quarta and a deci, everyone knows those, I supposed that is why we all have so much of the things .” He rolled his eyes skyward and his chin rocked back and forth. I pulled out a quarter and a dime. I was tempted to put the coins in order to hurry this along. “He was not accommodating ,the guy with the ponytail, I just wanted to buy something to eat and a drink. I asked a couple of simple questions” I commented, trying to explain the problem was the guy, NOT my math skills! Joy’s friend look over all the coins and then at me.
” You probably would do far better to listen FIRST!” He looked over the table top and added “pay attention to what coins are and how to use them. Instead of taking up someone’s time trying to keep you from making trouble. ” He pulled out some papers, some mini boxes and a timer.



I




When the cat is away

A black and white cat wandered in , swishing her tail as she nuzzled her chin and ears against the ottoman, over by the blond sofa table . The little fur ran alongside the back of two wide, wooden arm chairs in the other part of the room. The chairs were always in the gloom . A part of the room that didn’t get light from anywhere, it seem to be the working or card games part of the “garden room ” . Strange lighting for a work place, I felt like that wasn’t a part of the room I was invited into going.

I watched the cat rub against the table, slinking and purring on the area rug peeking out from underneath. She was a thin, small, well, I paused- not small- but muscular and–lanky. I cocked my eyebrow. Could a cat be lanky? ” ” That cat is slinky and long and slipped out like a fog. ” The man came into the room and slipped to his knees.

” Can a cat be lanky?” ” That cat can!” The man had wavy light hair and a massive frame of limbs and chest, I noticed as he walked in the room from the hallway. ” I don’t know what to call her, except that she reminds me of an ancient long legged animal, who was thin in some places and muscular in others and meek. “. I smiled , she looked like a neighborhood cat that had started hanging around our home in recent months. ” She is a dainty little-“- I wrinkled my nose. ” No, she is not dainty nor little , but lean and muscular and confident. She is an independent woman , in control of her surroundings and life!” I got down on my knees and rubbed her left ear, she tumbled over onto her side and then rolled over onto her back. Her pink and white underside was open for all of us to see and pay tribute.

“She knows she is the Queen of all her Kingdoms, all humans attend her at once.” Her head rubbed against my knuckles still on the carpet. ” She has the whole area at her command” She wiggled and settled her back against the edge of the ottoman. The tall, wide, firm gentleman in a fitted dark blue suit and a pale blue shirt with a red and gold tie, reached over and scratched her tummy. “She is a rascal, slipping away.”

The man looked up at me . ” What is your name and what is your research assignment? I presume that is why you are here in the private wing. He stood up with the cat in his arms. “Did you not comprehend what could be done and what would happen if you were not respectful of where you were entrusted to be?” He was firm and deliberate with his cinnamon and gold hair bristling out from his eyebrows framing an acorn shaped face. His sharp, brown eyes with their dark centers were looking at the cat and rubbing her back fur, but the question and tone of voice were what people said to others when they were annoyed . ” I take very poorly to being challenged. I thought I had made myself plain when I STATED what was allowed earlier. We are here by permission, not on a personal vacation, researcher.” ” His eyebrows looked down on me. The hair on the back of my neck and the frustration in the pit of my stomach flared up. Marie had just told me , nobody was to give me any trouble, in the Garden room.

” I don’t have an assignment, -” I rocked back away from the cat and himself. ” What are you doing in here ? ” I started backing up toward s the garden door, then stopped. ” I am supposed to be in here. Where are YOU supposed to be ? You sound like YOU”RE from the conference, which I assure you I am not interfering with the work. I came back in for some paper and a pen.” I reached for my booklet and pen , I had found early this morning. My green eyes and chin pointing at his chin “, YA”LL must have a free am off for you are the 3rd person I have meet in the last 1- no-3 hours.who are interfering with MY WORK!”

“She has it ,Cyrus. I told her not an hour , ago . She is our house guest and this is HER room, in which that you ARE interfering. Marie walked in from the outer garden. She was grinning and her disposition was sunny and steely as it had been earlier . ” This is the conference chairman , and he was just looking for strays, weren’t you? ” He has the difficult job of keeping up with all the research being done during the conference. Marie looked up and her eyes were deadly serious and her frame was a relaxed stone.

His face and expression showed no gladness in dealing with either one of us. ” I still don’t know what or who? ” The dark brown and gold stripped suit looked down at the small woman whose hands held a double fisted bouquets of tiny, blue and pink blossoms . ” I was going to take these and set them up in the green room . Do you think there will be an argument in less than 10 minutes or not? ” Cyrus’ mouth puckered and his eyes became hooded. ” you like to stir up issues, don’t you? We have enough _- I have enough disputes to put up, without having you throwing weeds up in the air, muddy everything. ” He whipped his brown and black checked -cape? around the top of the table and left weaving through the furniture and out.

” Oh, the power of the powerful – mighty in his swish of that mantle. We should ALL be awed and do his will , JUST because HE states his views again . ” I picked up the papers which had flown into a twister and were scattered on the chairs, floors and sofa. Putting them on the back table , listened to her musings as she reached for vases in a side cabinet. ” Power can be tricky ,” Marie said in a voice so sad and melancholy ,it made me sad. ” It can make you feel completely worthless or completely stiff and unyielding. Either way , it is a dangerous character and a dangerous partner.”

Where?

I looked around the room. The walls were still a deep kelly green. The dark oak chairs with the rounded sides like the drumsticks being stored in a holder large enough to sit in. The woven blueberry blue and lots of green bands making the cushions a warm tartan . Suddenly I felt like I was interfering with someone’s work, I should get out of the way. I didn’t have anything to be doing . Not really. I felt useless and cast off. Nobody misses me. I slipped on my old shoes, they were ratty and had bits of cuts in the sides of the leather. They were the shoes , that I slipped on when I didn’t want to damage my good ,comfortable shoes. Funny, that they were now the only shoes I had.

For lack of any place I was supposed to be going, I walked out to the patio and turned right toward the now familiar walkway around the side of the building. In the carved out garden , someone was there. I felt cheated. My chin fell and I looked at the pebbles which had ground into my hands, the other day.

“Hi, Come on over, I need some help” The lady was not much different from me, perhaps a bit older and a bigger middle. She called and waved a trowel back and forth. I smiled and went over to where she was on her knees , by the tall yellow and orange stalks. There were almost like white swords planted in the ground and mounted with a orange pyramid only shifting in the light wind which was stronger out in the open.

” Hi, I am Marie , I haven’t been over to the big house, this week. Are you getting away from the Conference, ? ” One leg was under her but the other leg was straight out. She rocked and grimaced. ” I am sorry to have to call you over like I am some old grouse. ” Her knee was lodged against the stone border and it was becoming very red. I cursed myself for nothing seeing that she was in trouble to begin with. ” Certainly, Could you like a – I mean Would you like an arm up.?” I reached down and grabbed her around her elbow , having to use the stone border to anchor myself to pull her up. ” Thank you so much, I was trying to plant to tigers’s tails and I leaned over to far. ” She swiped her hands together and rubbed them on her shirttail. “Could you bring that box over there and lets take them over to the corner bed. I have to get these in the ground, before the weather moves in. I don’t know how long they will last. ”

I deposited the box, feeling productive , silly me. Marie was putting the small mounds of flowers into a trench ,pushing dirt in as she went. ” I had to get away from those books and get some fresh air. Do you like books?” She was a bright soul but my gosh she could talk! I nodded my head and chuckled.
” I got into a lot of trouble ,reading books when I was supposed to be working at something else. I love the little library but i didn’t realize it was someone else’s work area.” Frowning , I turn and look out to the meadows ” funny, how you can become attach to a certain space. ”

Marie crumpled her forehead. She pulled out a plant and moving it to another spot , shaking the dirt from the petals. ” you must be our new guest . I trust you like your room and aren’t having any trouble settling in? Anybody giving you grief? ” I didn’t know if I should say what I had overheard . Trouble seems to be pouncing. Furrows as deep as the flower bed seemed to have become plowed into my head. ” Settling in. I am not settled. I am here and in a couple of weeks , I don’t know what is going to be”. I had not meant to sound so mean. I bit my lip . Settling in ?

Nobody had said where I was supposed to be . Where was I supposed to be? I was supposed to be going out with the girls and planning Sue’s baby shower. I was supposed to be shopping with Mom. My tears clouded my vision. Why were other people scrambling my life and not giving me any choices? ” I have been snuggled in the small library over there, but it seems to be a supervisor’s business office. Marie scrunched up the dirt around a small mound of yellow and purple flowers ” I don’t know of any supervisor having a business office over here. ”

“If you want to read and scurry down in the cushions, you go on and do so. Anyone give you trouble , let me talk to them.” The soft voice and the cheery face disappeared . ” I don’t know of anyone who even uses the garden room anymore, not with the new building. You can just consider it your space! ” She gave me a dirty and smelly hug, but it was a good ,good hug. ” Thank you, I don’t really have any reason to be staying on, except that I can’t -seem to get my world to make sense. ” Settling in? For how long?


tension and fear

My head hurt. It just did. I wanted to go home, where I knew how my life was supposed to go from moment to moment. BUT—- there seem to be no way to go back , back to familiar rules, predictable behavior or even the sense that the solid, stable environment would be there. Boring, only changing a little . There were arguments and charges and counter charges. People rolled their eyes and shook their heads and exclaimed “there they go again. Never can agree on things, — Then people traded this thing or proposal for that proposal or item and the waters underneath just keep following as if the waves on stop hd never stirred up the waters or broke against the rocks. I scrunched up my shoulders for the eleventyith time . I shook my head.”ow” Is eleventyth time even a word? I looked around for a dictionary or the old set of encyclopedias we had grown up with on the shelve or the kitchen table. Anytime , there was a question or a point of challenge in my parents’ household. The sentence was to go and find the answer in one of the books in the other room. Preferably , some kernel WE had found for ourselves( first sources, preferred although the Encyclopedia was also acceptable for quick source.) shortcuts were only acceptable if the discussion was becoming heated and the dispute needed to be defused.

There was not anything like a book shelf or large, solid leather bound goliath of books. My dad seemed to prefer those older paper smell volumes. The res of us preferred smaller, lighter and just as informative paperbacks. books were the balm to almost anything , a tranquilizer ( especially for my high energy mother) to stop the day and it’s assorted requirements , no matter the age in the house. Even my dog seem to chill out when someone was reading near by, she was a pretty easy going gal anyway. The only time she got in a frenzy was when anyone walked up to the front of the house. It didn’t matter who it was, my brother or the delivery man or even the next door neighbor. I put my head down and loses my eyes. I tried very hard to hear her barking or sniffing for me. She would have her black curly fur close to the floor and her long ears dragging through the dust as she sniffed out her line of inquiry. “Neither rain, snow or gloom of night could keep Suzie from her appointed quest”. I could see her sacked out on the end of the couch ,four black legs jutted out across the wide part of the cushion. Her long smooth nose quivering as she breathed out in gusts while she slept. I wonder what color of ribbon , the groomer put on her now?

I sat up and stood up , I suddenly wanted to get out, go somewhere, get some sunshine. I looked out the glass doors framing the opposite wall . I opened the door and quickly shut it. I looked around for a jacket and saw a navy blue windbreaker laying on a chair across the room by the desk. I darted over and snagged it. It was long , floppy and felt a bit like a sail, but it would do against the wind. The trees were shushing and tingling like a lot of coins being poured into a glass dish. I rounded the corner of the wall.

In front of me was a delicate garden with flowers in rocked off rectangles, circle and gravel paths that looked like they had come out of a fairy tale book, a English garden or a colonial garden in old Williamsburg. There were some plots where the plants were all tangled up together and I couldn’t tell if there were several similar plants or just one straggling , untrained vine, growing in a wild mess. There was the bed where tiny , little white and purple flowers looked too timid to take up much room in the dirt circled out.

Many of the plants were dark green and tinged with brown or silver pieces . No bright colors like near the door . The grounds were carved out in a bit of a pattern but not planned or stiff. There were weeds in most of the plants and nothing pruned. Still , the whole area looked tailored and very well kept. The trees were set to frame the whole area. The skinny , barely thick enough trunks and the arm’s width limbs seem rather too small for the importance of their appointed guardian positions. The yellowing and pale green meadow beyond the u-shape house stretched to the edge of the dark, formidable stand of dense foliage on the edge of the property ? The sky looked slightly purple and gray , though there was a lot of white sunshine shining through the cloud cover. I guess, it was later than it had seemed, maybe that was why I was feeling , particularly gloomy.

I shook my head, I knew that wasn’t it . I was HOMESICK. I wanted familiarity and not be so- o baffled and confused. I was tired of not making sense. No, I breathed. I was tired of being in uncharted situations. I stretched my neck and my arms. I shook my legs and my body until I rattled like a skeleton . I walked out in the grasses and laid down , doing stretches and yoga moves like I had been learning attending classes with Mom and her best friend, Laurie. I felt much better. I got up and started jogging first to the edge of the garden walk and then thirty or so one steps out, left turn , right turn and right turn and back to the garden edge. I lost count of the number of times or even the number of turns . It just felt good to lose my self in the air and the sky and the whisper of the trees , keeping me company on my journey. A journey that wasn’t scary or confusing because I could always predict that I would end up at the edge the familiar garden walk. Reaching the edge of the garden walk , I stumbled and fell to my knees on the gravel. My knees stung and my hand felt sore where the pebbles had dug in but I wasn’t broken.

Still, I looked around at the walls which were dark green and the flowers which I didn’t recognize and I was frightened to my lungs and my heart. I felt like I was completely incapable of taking care of or having enough of anything; clothes , first aid,food or even the wits to make the money to survive. Everything made fear grow large and overwhelming and I froze. I could breathe but that was all. What if I had knocked myself out?. What if I had broken my hand? As childish as it sounds , I started crying and fear grew because I didn’t have my mother to protect me or scold me , I didn’t have my dog to hold on to , I didn’t have my sister or my friends to talk to me and help me up. Or my Dad to check me over and bandage my knee , telling me to be more careful and that I really wasn’t that hurt. I would just be sore and I needed to go help my sister with getting ready for — whatever we were going to be doing. I suddenly wanted to be on my couch with my furry blanket and my warm, soft cushions that would padded my sores and enclosed me so that I would have a place to hide.

Circles

The longer I sat up , the better I felt,sort of better.   My eyes slammed  shut . I didn’t want to know where I was .  My niece was known to send email out of the blue.  Sometimes, I could lean in and see rather well, what she was talking or doing and where.  I can remember she and my sister talking at the kitchen table, all curious and listening to others seated around,

The white painted metal daisies chandelier which was wound around a  wrought iron stick hanging from the round curled piece mounted from the ceiling.  Each light was fashioned to look like a candle perched on a branch. The whole piece poised over the chalky white pedestal table. The family had long discussions, disputes and work sessions  around the round ” fiberglass” top .  We couldn’t even agree on  what material made the table.  It always seemed rather magical to me.  The wide spun white top perched upon a slender stalk with its wide, spread-out bottom.  A carefully balanced table which seemed to float in the kitchen space, not supported by  the daisy branches or attached to any object .   The white and blue space hosted many a project, many a homework bouts and many, many times of unifying communications (without electronics ,without machines).  Certainly there were always lots of elbows and books perched on the table edges or tucked in between whatever dishes and food items.  It wasn’t the center of the house, but it was the unified place, where we could have space to spread out and work or to have room to breathe when unity seem very far away from the conflicting arguments poised in the air.

I wondered what had whisked me away to my parents’ kitchen.  Hardly a comforting place since I spent some of the most miserable times glued to the blue fiberglass pedestal chair.   Frustrating projects, impossible paperwork and a large amount of time sitting  were large parts of my life. Mostly it was being confined to listening to just about any topic that I “needed to learn or hear about.”  The topics were sometimes over my head ( which would mean being sent to the reading room to find a series of books so that I would not be uneducated )

Conversant in many areas of the body of knowledge was expected in my family.  ” Ignorance is no excuse for X,Y Z semicolon” was the refrain that my parents would state if anyone at the table didn’t understand what was going on.

There isn’t a specified dogma.  Inquiry was the road to holding your own in the world .  If you want to succeed (my mother’s word),or survive! (my father’s term) , you had to have a wide ocean of knowledge and the skills required to sail out of the harbor .   We were to have the means  to conduct ourselves with respect, character, manners( my mother!) and a sense of responsibility to the family, our community, our profession and ourselves  (my father!) .  No excuses!!   Also, a wide amount of curiosity and tolerance was steeped into our psyches, it was just there in everything that my father and my mother worked at during their waking hours.  My Dad was a researcher at the University and my mother was an inquisitive, realistic, no-nonsense perfectionist.  She had been  a nurse before she married my Dad. She brought the tenacity and detail-orientation to running a house, running charities or taking care of us kids.  She also had a warm smile to go along with her warm and caring heart.

I turned over and put my back to the couch. I didn’t want to move . I found myself wondering what my mother would do in this situation.  She loved to dream of traveling to exotic destinations. My brother would say, quietly to us that he felt sorry for the natives when my parents arrived.  The town would know our parents had arrived as sure as a cat 2 hurricane.    I wonder what the list of Scientific hypotheses and guidance my father would design to study the environment and conditions I was in.  That would probably be  the way he approached this place ,the sensible means to work on a solution to the mystery.  My father loved mysteries especially natural, real ones.

I sat up and leaned against the back of the couch which seemed to be my escape safety place. It felt familiar and real and not any confusion connected to it.  I spent a lot of time on the long, cushioned modern component sofa in the family den, reading on a Sunday afternoon, playing with the dog or drawing an illustration from some discussion I had with my Dad.  My drawings were  not nearly as impressive or as rich in detail as my Dad and my sister paintings.  I did try and I enjoyed the challenge.

I stretched and opened my eyes to a garden of ivy vines and flowers around the patio .  Pulling up the yard quilt, I reached for the pad I had the night before.  On it, I had written” where to start?”   it reminded me of a song my sister and I loved. ” Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.”   The only problem with that was the start was all I had.  The query was where to set off from there.  The facts I had to examine did not make any tangible sense in the rationality of facts.    A sense of confusion and lack of rationality seemed to be the reality , the established structure of the realm .

Query, how does one proceed in a framework that is counter to every principle that I knew.?

Journey

A journey is a time and place around you.  It may be as easy as delivering a gift to someone who needs the gift and a bit of human interaction. A journey can be traveling to visit a close family member who has moved.  Sometimes, a journey is just finding a bathroom for a young child,who NEEDS to go.  Journeys can be short in the architectural sense but very long in the hopes,dreams and striving to achieve realms.   People like to plan for journeys, excursion, vacations or just the normal ” “running errands”and such.  There is a comfort in the challenge to complete the plans.

The journey can be exciting and a little scary or it can be a continuity and comfort in the familiarity of the trip.   Moving from one item on the list to another place is a part of living, it is a way to stretch and revitalize our bodies and minds.   It is also, a way to live and achieve that is sometimes understandable, sometimes frustrating or annoying. We accept that there are places and manners that we have to do in order to accomplish what we strived to achieve.