Monday, August 20, 2012

Embracing and Welcoming Change: At Home and in the Garden

Embracing and Welcoming Change: At Home and in the Garden

“August rain: The best of the summer gone and the new fall not yet born.
The odd uneven time.”
~ Sylvia Plath

This week I found out that my son who is in the US Navy is going to be stationed in my hometown of Newport News, Virginia. Although this makes me very happy because he’ll be living closer to me, it has also brought on an intense feeling of sadness for me to endure momentarily. The last time that I was in Newport News, was for my Mother’s funeral. I remember thinking while sitting at the burial service that I knew more people buried in the cemetery than I actually knew who were still living in Newport News. This thought seemed to put things into perspective. If I’m not mistaken, I have very little family left in the city other than an Aunt and some very distant cousins perhaps. Most of my childhood friends have also moved elsewhere. I pretty much left the area to begin my adult life back in 1982, when I moved to Vermont.

Wow, so now my son will be creating his own memories in my old stomping grounds, at least for as long as Uncle Sam wants him to anyway. In a place that I’ll always call home. In a place that still brings back so many happy and sad memories. I can only embrace my feelings now by accepting the fact that I really miss my mom, dad and brother. I miss my grandmother and aunts and uncles who are now deceased. I miss what was, but I have to look forward to what’s ahead.

It’s almost the end of August, and I’m starting to feel the change in daylight. The days are definitely getting shorter. This is that time in the southern garden where you start to notice that most of the flowers are fading and are finished blooming. A few stragglers remain and yet, although you’ve cut back your perennials, you know that their fall bloom will be small. You’re appreciative for your still blooming lantana and portulaca. It’s easy for me to see how much time has passed by going back through my many photo albums since things sprung into life back in early May. These photos reflect the passage of time. They also get me through the winter months with hopes of what we’ll have next spring and summer.

The question becomes, what do you plant next in this almost seemingly ever living environment? My goal now is to take a little break and to let it cool down a little before adding the fall annuals. Basically it is time to look at the garden, and figure out what I want to add or possibly move around or get rid of next year. It is time to plan, relax a little, and recover. It’s time to pull some weeds. It’s time to fantasize about living in some tropical paradise and to be very thankful that we don’t get buried in snow. Yet sometimes I think that may be better than seeing dormant plants and dead looking grass.

I look at my arms, and they’re covered in scabs from multiple ant bites and from a recent rash from contact dermatitis. A rash caused by the sensitivity to the exposure of plant oil, usually from plants with spines or thorns, in combination with sunlight. Nothing serious, just temporary intense burning and itching that goes away for me rather quickly. It is not as severe as poison ivy. It is just a consequence of not wearing long sleeves.

I had a great interview this week with a magazine that I’ve always considered to be a leading resource of information for people living with paralysis since the onset of my spinal cord injury back in 1983. PN Online, Paraplegia News is published by the Paralyzed Veterans of America. I am thrilled to be listed as a resource, as a person of PN Online, for anyone with a disability who is interested in accessible gardening. I’m pretty ecstatic actually! I’ve always looked to them for information, and I hope more people with spinal cord injuries will connect with me, my blog and on facebook.

This week with the rain, I’ve had time to catch my breath a little and to actually add dirt to and buy seeds for my vegetable planters. I’ve also taken a breather from advocacy to let things work themselves out a little. Sometimes people, like a garden, need time. I’ve revisited a few older accessibility issues and thankfully found out that designated accessible parking had been created on the street near our fabulous, and very accessible aquarium. The SC Aquarium has great employees who have always had great attitudes about doing everything possible to make every visitor feel welcomed. I was around in the early 90’s when they asked me to review their building plans, and they still value my opinion today. This kind of respect makes me incredibly happy.

In the week ahead, I’m feeling privileged to have been asked to look at a site for accessibility to a planned community garden. This type of planning will, hopefully, make it a better place for all to enjoy. I’ll also be looking at potential real estate for my son. This too will be fun. I look forward to going back to visit my old homestead more frequently. Fortunately, I still have a sister living not too far away from Newport News, a few terrific nieces and many great nieces and nephews. I also have a couple of old childhood friends not living too far away either. (One friend just got her own chickens!) It is definitely time for more happy memories to be made for sure! Life is too short not to live for these happy times.

"To every thing there is a season, and time to every purpose under the heaven:A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. " The Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:18.

Excellent article by PVA Magazine, PN Online:

1 comment:

  1. And so there you have it-melancholy as the days get shorter, yet as humans we always look ahead to what is to come. We can take the sadness and memories of those we miss and have known and carry their spirits forward to a time when the days once again grow longer and our gardens give up the bounty of a new season.