I wrote a thing about my aunt, Sue, who passed away last summer.... I still don't know what to do with this, really, but sharing it feels right today, especially as my grading slows at the end of the term, and I have some time to reorient my life, to find my way back to creating a life I love.
While Dan and I sat outside, my mom’s most recent, sweet gift sat on our kitchen table. It was a box of hot chocolate from Amazon. It was simple but so considerate, and it's the perfect illustration of how gracious my mom is.
Last week was a week of quitting.
I quit drinking early last week so that I could try Methotrexate for my RA. By midweek, I was ready to quick blogging entirely (archive this shit and take it off of my to-do list). By Thursday, I coined the phrase, "I have done enough," after deciding I was sick of waking up every morning and claiming that I would "do better"/"do more" today, like yesterday wasn't enough. Saturday, I was ready to rip out the seams of our ottoman and recover it. Yesterday I quit during our long run.
At the end of September, my therapist told me I was doing an excellent job of setting boundaries. Not two weeks later, my best friend was reminding me to breathe, not to quit anything before bed.
Somewhere in the quitting, I told Dan that I was going to cut down the Boxwood in the backyard. We know little about landscaping; we're making it up as we go along. Years ago, someone landscaped our backyard, but no one tended it. We've spent (almost) two years trying to figure it out. I wanted to rip out the Boxwood; it was in the way of my imagined festoon lighting.
I was telling Dan my grand plan (grand, cheap, and semipermanent) for the fire pit that we don't have and the two strings of festoon lighting I bought on sale. "I'll just dig this guy up," I said, pointing to the Boxwood.
Our Boxwood had never heeded to shaping as Boxwoods are supposed it. It always seemed a little too tall. I threatened to bonsai it, and then to pull it up. I mean, there was a roundish-square-shaped evergreen bush that didn't go with anything else in our backyard.
When I pointed to the Boxwood, I thought a storm had blown a fake flower onto it. The flower wasn't a fake. Our Boxwood was not a Boxwood.
There was one single Camellia bloom and buds everywhere. It is a Japanese Camellia.
I grew up going to the annual Japanese festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens and seeing the lanterns there. They were the stuff of dreams; I imagined the fairies of my story books playing in the garden, and geisha dancing in the glowing lights.
The touring Chinese Lantern Festival, currently at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens is just as awe-inspiring. The light filled animals, their bright colors, stirs even the imaginations of adults. This not just for kids.
Some of the lanterns even moved like the dragonfly below.
There was even a moving T-Rex, but Dan and I were to busy being silly while our neighbors took pics for me to record it.
In the collage below are some of my favorites: cranes that can see into your soul, a festooned butterfly, alligators that remind me of Louisiana, a fox pup, and a kaliedoscopic water bird in a fountain of lotus.
While, clearly, you don't have to be a professional photographer to take some good snaps, once it gets dark put your phone away and just be.
(Also, I'm apparently obsessed with lantern festivals; I'm headed to Las Noches de las Luminaries in Phoneix in December.)