“…a cyclamen that looks like a flight of butterflies, frozen for a single, exquisite moment in the white heart of time…”
― Beverley Nichols, Down the Garden Path
Tis the season for cyclamens! These wonderful flowers look good in my garden in white, in my home in red and in my shed in pink, of course!
I’ve read that on the Mediterranean Island of Cyprus they grow in great drifts of thousands of plants and fill the air with fragrance. Perhaps, someday I’ll see that, but for now they have arrived in great quantity at my local nursery.
I came to associate the flowers with Christmas when I began dating my husband in high school. His mother, Mary, has a bright green thumb and she has always decorated her world with growing things. At the holidays, the entrance to her home was filled with white cyclamen. They sat in a long line on a console table underneath a large mirror. It was a simply elegant way to greet visitors, and it remains a beautiful memory for me.
Mary will spend Christmas at our home this year, and there will be white, red and pink cyclamens to greet her!
Just as the Christmas decorations are going up inside my home, the camellias are beginning to bloom in my garden! If you are not familiar with this wonderful shade loving plant, allow me to introduce you. It’s an evergreen with wonderful glossy green leaves and it blooms in the late fall and throughout the winter.
The flowers range in color from white to red with every shade of color in between! Coco Chanel loved the blooms in white and it still features prominently in her brand. But, for me…it’s all about pink!
I wore my first sweater of the season last week; it was a chilly 68 degrees. It’s fall in California, but I have a summer bouquet to enjoy every day.! It was created by my blogging friend, Tamara Jare at My Botanical Garden. It was spring when I selected the lovely watercolor and I was anticipating summertime as I always do. I framed the small piece and it sits on my desk in the pink shed. I can almost smell the peonies, roses, grasses and spirea in full bloom.
As Tamara said, “It’s a special arrangement in the same way that each summer is special.” It’s particularly meaningful to me because it’s a reminder of one of the first friends that I made after creating my blog. I have a friend in Slovenia! I never thought I’d be able to say that!
Tamara found my site just two days after I established it and became one of my first followers. I was glad, not only to have her as a reader, but also to discover the beauty on her site. We developed a connection over the past months and have continued to communicate through e-mail.It was fun to discover how much Tamara and I have in common. We are about the same age and happily married with grown children. After she read my post about aging, she shared that Oil of Olay (tanti anni fa) was the secret to her youthful good looks, too! We agreed that they must have a good advertising company!
We are both creative women who feel happy and complete in our lives. Tamara began her blog when her mother was terminally ill and the artistic expression helped her through that very difficult time. I started my blog when my one -and -only left me to go to college. If one could bottle creative expression, it would be truthful to state that it is a potent remedy in times of loss or change.
I’m sure that I will sound my age when I say that I am amazed to find women who are so seemingly like me in all parts of the world. I’m an “old dog” who learned a “new trick” and I’m grateful to be part of a blogging community with no boundaries.
I am hopeful that someday I’ll meet my friend in Slovenia, but, until then, her art keeps me company while I pursue my creative side.
I’ve been thinking a lot about time and place lately. It seems to me that place matters little if the time is not right. It was a philosophical cabana boy who got me thinking about this. I had left the Carmel fog for the sunshine of Carmel Valley to enjoy a glass of bubbly poolside. I was admiring the stunning view of blue skies, old oaks and green hills when he handed me my chilled glass.
“This really is paradise up here, isn’t it,” I commented. I hadn’t phrased it as a question and yet he took it that way. “Well,” he said flatly, “I guess paradise is where you find it.” Clearly, he had not found it where I had.
It could be argued that he was working and I was lounging and as such we had different viewpoints, but I think it’s more than that. In my younger days, I often failed to appreciate the beauty around me…the beauty that offers solace, inspiration and perspective. Understandably, I was rushing, worrying, working and tending; now there is less of all of that and more time to notice what’s around me.
I do remember the orange leaves in the fall of 2000, though. It was my brother’s last fall and he knew it. We’d met to have coffee and pastry. We sat outside at a small bistro table admiring the view. “Of course, I never appreciated it quite so much,” he said. Fall had always been my favorite time of year, too. I loved the tree colors and the crisp air and, in my younger days, the joy of beginning a new year in school. Yet, that day was different; we sat and breathed it in. We were happy.
As I grow older, I do stop more often to appreciate trees, stars, flowers and vistas and I am always struck by how marvelous it all is. I feel content to sit by the windows in the morning and watch the breeze in the grasses and the squirrels in frolic. In the afternoon, I marvel at the fog as it drifts in slowly to ultimately form a thick wall. I walk outside at night sometimes just to look up at the sky.
I enjoyed a visit with my neighbor this morning and as we cleaned up the coffee cups she pointed out the kitchen window to her garden. “People talk about yoga,” she said. “This is my yoga.”
And, I understood what she meant. If you take the time to notice it, the world is a beautiful place.
“Go to the farmers market and buy food there. You’ll get something that’s delicious. It’s discouraging that this seems like such an elitist thing. It’s not. It’s just that we have to pay the real cost of food. People have to understand that cheap food has been subsidized. We have to realize that it’s important to pay farmers up front, because they are taking care of the land.”—Alice Waters
My husband, who is one of my favorite things, bought me the Blu-Ray edition of my all-time favorite movie, “The Sound of Music,” and we enjoyed it in all its glory last night. I love a good sing along and I love “My Favorite Things” most among all of the wonderful songs in the film. The lyrics got me thinking about my own favorite things and wondering about yours too! You already know I love my hubby, daughter and doggies! Here’s a list of the stuff I like:
Raindrops on (pink) roses… Julie was right, they are lovely
Illy coffee…when we serve it, our guests consistently ask, “Wow, what is this coffee?”
Beckmann’s Three Seed Sourdough bread…you know how I love to cook;) If I have this in the house, I simply top it with an egg, cheese or veggies, and viola…it’s a meal
My new Kitchen Aid Mini Stand Mixer in pink…it fits in my very small kitchen
Cream…poured into my coffee, whipped to top my fruit and to spread between layers of cake
My two favorite destinations: Maui and London…one for relaxing, the other for exploring
Chanel No. 5 on my pulse points since I was 20 years old