Opening the Door of Hope

Dark December mornings before sunrise can be full of foreboding and this morning felt rather overwhelming.

However, all changed when at very first light I saw what seemed like a fairy light blowing in the wind outside in the garden.

Colour of Dawn
Colour of Dawn

It was this season’s  first full bloom on the Camellia that I planted with my father a few weeks after getting married in September 1991.  Father was a great believer in the power of perennials and the importance of planting to ensure that there would be colour, especially in Winter.  One of his favourite sayings was this one from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

The earth laughs in flowers

Even though the Camellia has never failed to bloom, she always shocks me with her dazzling arrival and has me gazing out the kitchen window in pure amazement. Here is the much needed colour and the promise of lots more to come with a host of buds.

It makes me think of the way in which we all need colour and hope in our lives.  Has there ever been a person who hasn’t felt moments when it seemed like the darkest storm would never pass?

We never really know who is in the midst of their own personal storms nor how a friendly smile or a pause for a little chat can be the flash of colour that re-opens the door to that precious place called Hope.

101 Ways to Cope with Losing Elderly Parents # 5

I think that the seeds for coping with the loss of elderly parents are sown way back before frailty or death occur and this generally happens in a subconscious way.  For me, one of the many things that softens the sadness is seeing the blossoming of shrubs and flowers that I planted with my parents in happy times.

A typical example of this is the camellia which is currently in full bloom in my back garden and which Father and I planted together after a trip to our local garden centre and a drive round by Dunmore East where we stopped off for coffee and a chat.

Seeing the camellia now brings me back to a time when Father was in the great health and is completely dissociated with any of the more difficult memories of his declining years.

So seize all the opportunities you can when your parents are well to plant these memories and, if that time has passed, identify a few things or thoughts that relate to those earlier times as they can be very sustaining when pangs of sadness strike.

I’d love to hear what items or thoughts are ‘special’ for YOU in this context.

Celebration of Pink ~ Gatherings from Ireland # 42

This morning I was greeted by the first vibrant pink bloom on the camellia that has lived in my back garden since 1991. So, the twenty-first blooming is now upon me. It was like seeing a familiar face again and all I could do was stare in wonder and give it a big welcoming smile.

My Pink Camellia
My Pink Camellia

I remember as well as anything the day I bought the camellia. It was in October 1991 and I made my way out to McGuires Garden Centre which is about 5 miles from Tramore and wonderfully close to Woodstown Beach which has been a special haunt since childhood.

I didn’t know a thing about camellias, except what I’d read in a novel about their beauty,  but found myself being introduced to them by a man who was as connected to nature as ever you could meet, the late Paddy McGuire who was the heart and soul behind McGuires.  There weren’t many people around as it was early in the morning and Paddy McGuire was working away tending the vast array of plants, shrubs, trees ….. in the Garden Centre. I must have looked like a shrinking violet or a wallflower as I picked my way through the camellias reading labels about the practical aspects of how to grow them.  Paddy McGuire gave me time to settle and then approached with a hint of hesitancy but warm, warm eyes and a helpful smile.

I left that day carrying a small little shrub and a promise from Paddy McGuire that I would never regret the purchase as it would bring a shade of pink into my garden every year just when I’d be thinking I’d never see pink again.

Well, Paddy, you were right and  thanks for all your help and advice over the years and for planting that evergreen warmth and welcome of yours in the Garden Centre where it continues to shine.