I’ve Missed You

Tulip and Valerian
Tulip and Valerian

I’ve just been out gardening and it felt like nature was urging me back here to Social Bridge which someone once described as being like a garden. I remember being thrilled with that observation as I like to think of it as a place of creativity.

I really want to thank everyone who left comments and contacted me behind the scenes while I was off doing other things. Somehow the connections one makes through blogging are a lot deeper than one often realises.

I come bearing a poem which makes me think of my late mother who  had such a passion for writing, nature and gardening. She loved this time of year and is very much in my thoughts as her anniversary is on May 31 ~ hard to believe it could be almost 6 years ago now.

I'll Sit by the Red Valerian

I'll sit by the red valerian
with my cup of tea. Early evening.

If it comes at all, it will come
punctually, having remembered
this place in summer's geography.

Ah,look! And it's brought another.
They punch the florets. I lean
to the hum of invisible wings.

Inches only between us.

What do their nerve-cells recall
of the waves biting up, salty?

That inkling they must have had
of all this - somewhere else - existing. 

(Anne Cluysenaar: Migrations, 2011, Cinnamon 

Stepping Out to In-Betweeness

Today has been one of those pet days which seems to have hopped in from Summer to say ‘hello.’

The garden beckoned and that delicious feeling of being embraced by nature. These lines from W.B. Yeats’ Among School Children kept floating in and out of my head:

O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?

There was such a sense of glimpsing Spring, yet admiration for Winter’s glory. At times, it seemed wrong to disturb nature, especially when she gently closed her curtains on me:

Curtain of Pampas
Curtain of Pampas

Wise and wrinkled textures from Winter were glancing at the enthusiastic shoots of Spring.

The Hydrangea by the Gate
The Hydrangea by the Gate

It seemed right that it would be the climbing hydrangea that was springing forward, wrapping herself around the solid trunk of the Monkey Puzzle Tree:

Climbing Hydrangea
Climbing Hydrangea

The snowdrops that were showing white a week ago were nodding their heads every so gently to assuage my amazement that they could have survived the vicious Storm Rachel that ravaged Ireland a few days ago.


The thorny debate around Aristotle’s theory that Nature abhors a vacuum, that has lain dormant since the dark days came, re-emerged from under the front hedge with a burst of orange. Here lay one of the many buoys that have begged to be brought home from the windswept beaches over the last few months.

Buoy Blossom
Buoy Blossom

The dreamy in-betweenness of today was starkly questioned by the shadow of a tree at sundown as I ran to the shop to get some coal for tonight’s  fire.




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.

A Post I Thought I’d Never Write …

I am very conscious of the fact that the majority of the search terms that lead people to this blog relate to Losing Elderly Parents and there are times when the fear, angst and sadness of those who are searching is painfully palpable.

I honestly can’t remember but I suspect I was one of those searchers back when my parents were in failing health and in the weeks and months after they had died. There is absolutely no easy way to lose one’s parents and there are times when it can seem overwhelming and totally unmanageable. I say that in relation to both the period leading up to their deaths and after they have passed on.

This time three years ago, I was trying to deal with what would have been my parent’s 62nd wedding anniversary and it was just two months after my father had died. Mother had died 16 months before him.  I have the most vivid recall of driving out to Maguire’s Garden Centre to buy spring bulbs to mark the occasion.

Maguire’s was a place that Mother and Father always loved and we spent many, many happy hours out there buying bulbs, plants, garden furniture ….. That day, three years ago, I pulled up in the car park and was so overcome with grief that I just sat in the car sobbing and ended up driving straight home without being able to go in.  I felt that day that I would never, ever be able to set foot in what had always been a haven of happiness.

Although I’ve been back to Maguire’s quite a few times in the last two years,  it’s  never been on special occasions.  So, today was a first and the memory of that day sobbing hit me when I got to the car park. However, the sense of hopelessness and loss didn’t descend. Rather, I was able to think about the happy times we had shared there; smiled as I thought of Father teasing me when I went out there with him shortly after I’d finished a gardening course and thought I knew everything there was to be known about plants; was immediately drawn to the snowdrops which were always Mother’s favourites …..

Back home, I spent about three hours at total peace tidying up the rockery and flower beds and planting the spring bulbs and heather I had bought.  It was like Mother and Father were with me and all sorts of memories drifted in an out of my mind ~ the little patch that I had in the garden from when I was about three; Mother’s saying which she had picked up from her father: While you’re resting for supper, be sweeping the yard; Father’s absolute love of daffodils and the bunches of windfalls that he would bring in to decorate the house …..

Yes, all has changed, ‘changed utterly,‘ as W.B. Yeats wrote, but it’s not a terrible beauty  that has been born.  I would describe it more as a  sense of oneness and presence,  and something which I would wish for all those who are in that state of turmoil where I was three years and more ago.