Saturday, August 28, 2010

Out of the Blue - My Mysterious Wisteria

One of my most favorite blooms has always been the heavenly Wisteria vine even though I had never seen one except in photographs. Since my home is in the northern part of the Midwest, the beautiful Wisteria was always unavailable to me, too delicate for our harsh winters. Then early in 2009 I discovered a winter hardy variety from Minnesota (W. macrostachys) the cultivar 'Blue Moon'. I found a nursery online where there were cultivars available and ordered two plants. While I waited for the plants to arrive I secured heavy wire supports to my deck railings so the vines would not have to climb directly on the deck supports. The wire would keep the vines several inches away from the decking structure so as not to weigh too heavily on it. The planting was easy and the summer of 2009 produced a healthy vine with no blossoms just as I expected of a new plant. I wondered how it would winter over but the plant was described as hardy to -40℉ so I was not too concerned.

In Spring 2010 I was disappointed to see that the wonderfully twisted woody vines were both broken off at the base of the plants, probably due to the snow and ice. The 15 foot previous summer's growth was now dead. I wasn't sure if the plants would send out new shoots again or not, but in no time at all the new growth was vigorous and prolific. However Wisteria are not quick bloomers, sometimes taking 10-15 years to produce the flowers called racemes. However this new winter hardy variety was said to bloom in 2-3 years and surprisingly repeat throughout the season.

Since the plants had to start their growth all over this summer after breaking off last winter, I was not expecting to see any blossoms for at least a year or two. But to my delighted amazement this week I was astonished to see beautiful blue lilac pendulous 12" racemes - an unexpected late summer gift! Now I need to learn how to prune the twining vines and stabilize the plants at the base to keep the snow and ice from breaking the vines off again. And I am already envisioning even more blossoms to thrill me next summer.

There was another surprise blooming this month! My bowl of succulents presented me with some beautiful color too!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Other Side of the Mirror by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge

I sat before my glass one day,
And conjured up a vision bare,
Unlike the aspects glad and gay,
That erst were found reflected there -
The vision of a woman, wild
With more than womanly despair.
Her hair stood back on either side
A face bereft of loveliness.
It had no envy now to hide
What once no man on earth could guess.
It formed the thorny aureole
Of hard, unsanctified distress.

Her lips were open - not a sound
Came though the parted lines of red,
Whate'er it was, the hideous wound
In silence and secret bled.
No sigh relieved her speechless woe,
She had no voice to speak her dread.

And in her lurid eyes there shone
The dying flame of life's desire,
Made mad because its hope was gone,
And kindled at the leaping fire
Of jealousy and fierce revenge,
And strength that could not change nor tire.

Shade of a shadow in the glass,
O set the crystal surface free!
Pass - as the fairer visions pass -
Nor ever more return, to be
The ghost of a distracted hour,
That heard me whisper: - 'I am she!'

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tread Lightly for Fairies Dwell Here...or the Fairies Amongst Me!

When I was a child growing up in the 1950s, I believed in fairies, elves, leprechauns, the Easter Bunny, the sandman, ghosts and goblins, wicked trolls who lived under bridges, white knights who rescued fairy princesses, and of course Santa Claus. And I believed in them all well beyond when all of my friends were enlightened. If I was in the dark I preferred to stay there. In fact I still believe in some of those beings! I said something similar recently about the state of denial I lived in for so long when I was someone's supposed wife - that I think I knew I was in denial, but I liked it there! The tile mural above was done for my previous "other-life" house. I spent two years completing all the tiles and three months after they went up I was informed I would not be living there in my "forever home" anymore. So another family is enjoying my work now. I am glad of that though, I was afraid a new owner would come in  and destroy it for something else. The photo is not the best being glossy paint on glossy tiles, but it's the only one I have.


This is the big blue fairy cupboard I designed for my previous "dream kitchen." It wasn't nailed down so I took it with me when I had to vacate my "forever home." It anchors my second "dream kitchen" in my true forever home now. I never expected to have to move it the first time; and being the dreamer I am, I never considered the weight of  the behemoth cupboard when designing it. It was originally assembled on site in the first new kitchen, and in such away that it could not be disassembled without causing major damage. As I said, I never intended to have to move it - in MY lifetime at least.  But after only a few months, I had to have it moved to my new post-divorce home. It took 4 large men, a piano mover and much straining and grumbling to get it where it stands today ... and where I hope it stays for many years.
Fairies surround me in my second dream kitchen as they did in my first, nestled below twining vines and glass tiles. You cannot be in the midst of these capricious, mystical wee  folk without being enchanted!

Occasionally these ephemeral fragile creatures need to be captured and held for their own protection from roaming cats and dogs, or even hawks and eagles searching for such a sweet little morsel.               

 Or high on a shelf  under glass where cats cannot pounce.

A little elfin creature seems to have found his way to my little fairy enclave. He has taken it upon himself to stand watch over the fairies like a little sentry, the keeper of the realm he believes himself to be. He is pretty exemplary with his slingshot too.

If you wish to have fairies in your garden, like in my little fairy sub-division here, plant a bit of thyme in your garden to attract them. Soon you will see tiny fairy shadows flitting against your garden wall.

A happy home is a home with fairies. They will teach you that life can be more than it seems. But beware, fairies will not stay in a home with human-kind if you are foul tempered. If you can hold your tongue you can live in a state of perpetual enchantment amongst the fairies until the end of days!

The land of fairies and other magical beings became my escape as a young girl from an abusive childhood. It is where I discovered my muse and learned to immerse myself in my imagination.  Later with my marriage, I believed my life would be joyous, safe and contented, but I was misled. Unbeknownst to me from the beginning, the door to fulfillment would be as impenetrable as a stone wall, as unfathomable  as a riddle, and as make-believe as a masquerade. I was castigated, ridiculed and shunned for wanting to be a part of someone's life. I believed if I could just unravel the mystery that loomed there darkly, we could be happy. But it was never allowed to happen. The door remained closed to me always, beginning to end. Rather than admit to myself my failure and  unhappiness, I chose denial and escaped more and more into the world of my imagination - until it defined me. These days as time unravels the secrets and lies imposed on my life, I no longer allow myself the comfort of denial. I am finding I can be happy alone in my "little world" as many call it, where I am most familiar, comfortable and happy. I have learned to be my own best company in this place of refuge - safe, secure, fulfilled - home. It is my world but kindred spirits are always welcome.
Have you invited a wee fairy into your home lately? Just close your eyes and whisper, "I believe!" They will hear you! They will come!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Guest House by Rumi

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

~ Rumi ~

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Father's Legacy

My father is slowly bleeding to death. All we can do is watch and wait. He and I have always had a volatile relationship stemming from  painful childhoods - his and mine. I really thought there was nothing more he could teach me about life. But I was wrong. He is teaching me how to die. He has refused anymore  transfusions that were barely keeping up with the constant slow trickle of blood leaving his body. He says "why waste good blood?" Tired of fighting this relentless foe, he is resigned to his fate - calm, at peace and even joking about his situation. I am awed with his attitude. I told him he was very brave. I hope I can accept death - welcome it when it is my time - as remarkably as he is doing.
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