Although not being quite old enough to have actually experienced the phenomenon of the victory gardens in WWI or WWII, the concept came to mind with regard to the current pandemic. During war time, Americans were called on to grow food in whatever space they had. To quote an article in the New York Times: ‘that idea resonates as trips to the grocery store become fraught with fears of coronavirus exposure…’
Unknowingly, I had a victory garden of sorts underway….using kitchen scraps. Weeks ago a sprouted Bermuda onion from my kitchen was the first contribution. Next, potatoes that had begun to sprout were added,
along with some garlic cloves,
then a beet.
Finding that some loose peas had sprouted in the crisper, I dug a shallow trench for them.
I’ve recently done the same with tomato seeds.
Watching, what would have otherwise gone to compost, take root and sprout new life, is satisfying in its own right. Being engaged in a productive activity which may yield food to be shared helps give purpose to these days of isolation.
Please share what is helping to give meaning and purpose to your life as we weather these days together.
Yes, I know, I am pushing the envelope in terms of Webster’s definition of condensation. Think not of vapor condensing into liquid; rather of the process of becoming more concentrated. Think condensed milk, concentrated orange juice, sauce reduction when cooking; life being distilled to its essence – my experience over the last few years, intensified by the recent admonition to ‘those of a certain age’ ( and now everyone) to stay home until the threat of this pandemic passes.
I would venture that we all come to this chapter of life in different ways and for a variety of reasons other than simply age. Commencing this chapter was of necessity for us. Leaving our beloved family home, our accustomed life, much of what we had worked for…..made this transition a bitter pill. Intellectually we could get our heads around it, rationalize it, even embrace it. Our hearts were another matter.
We are now condensed into what we fondly call ‘the cottage’, with far less space and fewer possessions. Having placed beloved pieces in good homes; stored the miscellany in neatly labeled and numbered stacks of white-lidded boxes; found joy in new neighbors and new friends.
Although I still miss the previous chapter of my life (I reread it often in my mind and a piece of my heart remains in a sunny lemon orchard), I have learned that condensation can be positive. The flavor of life itself becomes more intensified and sweet. We are being distilled down to the essence of who we are; reduced from worry and regret, to numbering our blessings, giving thanks for where we are….trusting God.
“Occasionally, weep deeply over the life you hoped for. Grieve the losses. Feel the pain. Then wash your face. Trust God. And embrace the life you have.”
– John Piper –
In our world today ‘contagion’ is on every mind. As we take steps to slow the spread, to flatten the curve, as they say, we can also create an atmosphere of positive contagion. Walking in my new neighborhood yesterday, as the sun shone briefly in the late afternoon following rain, I was surprised by a new feeling of community. Children out on their bikes with parents jogging alongside, couples walking dogs, and babies in strollers, lone walkers and runners. As I passed, a smile, a nod, a word of greeting – a sense that we are in this together. We’ve always been in this life together, whether acknowledged or not; now we have a common thread running through the fabric of our lives.
My job involves bringing beauty and order into the lives of others. I like it to be a collaboration – my clients ideas and sensibilities, filtered through my eye, executed to our mutual satisfaction. So many different ways exist to share beauty….a picture, a story, a thought, a word of endearment or encouragement….the list really is endless. In the digital age in which we live, we can be contagious in a positive way, without risking the negative.
Logging in this morning, I see that I have not posted on this blog since 2017. Many events conspired to rob me of the joy I once had. In 2020, in the mist of pandemic, I’m taking a fresh look at life through a very different lens and finding it more beautiful than ever.
As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Several weeks ago my five year old granddaughter took what we had accumulated from a bit of garden clean-up and fashioned a still-life on the flagstone….beauty in my eyes and hers….possibly in yours as well.
I hope to continue to share that which is beautiful in my world, to reconnect with past loyal followers and make new friends. Please respond; let me know what your world looks like today – spread the beauty! Be well!
One thousand heavenly voices
singing Dona Nobis Pacem
in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels
John Nava’s tapestries line the walls
my cousin Katherine Rose standing in as Jacinta
Blocks from Terroni to our destination venue filled with amazing sights:
the Broad Art Museum
Mural at MOCA – Museum of Contemporary Art
Walt Disney Concert Hall
Ramon C Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts
grounded by the 101 freeway in the foreground – 21st Century reality!!!
Sometimes…between a girl and a horse…magic happens:
life lessons happen –
…a joy to observe!!!
respite from the cares of the world…
peace that passes understanding
always refreshed and inspired by the island!!!!
a tight ball of unobservable potential
opening to the opulence of petaled glory
then: fading, fragile, feminine
shedding that which is no longer useful
paring down to the essence
retaining elegance; beauty of a different sort
dedicated to those women of a certain season of life who walk this path with elegance and grace
Are you getting a sense of the place???
Really quite small, filled with pieces having lived life alongside their owners, now waiting to bring new life to another space.
Focused, carefully curated, each piece an individual treasure.
Always such a joy to visit Miss Vicki – to see beauty through her eyes.
I’ll be back in August for another family event in Crossroads!!!