I watch the fireworks reflected in
My child’s wide eyes.
Her mouth gapes open as
The skies alight with
Every color there is to be seen.
The first booms startled her
Arms wrapping around my neck
A little tighter.
Now all she knows is beauty and wonder
And I treasure the sound of her squeals and giggles
On this warm summer night.
My mom loved gardening. I vividly remember playing outside, as a child, during summer weekends, watching my mom hunched over her various flower beds with her blue and white cowboy-style bandanna tied around her head. She would be weeding or transplanting new flowers. There would be containers of near fluorescent marigolds, pansies or some other colorful summer flower. One house we lived in there was a stone wall in front of our house and my mom and planted rows of bright orange tiger lilies all along it. When I got home from riding my bike somewhere I could see the brightness from way down the street. Those flowers were like a landing strip for my bike. Out of all the flowers my mom loved though, the one she had to buy every year were geraniums. Early summer always meant there would be pots of red blooms decorating our porch or front steps. It couldn’t be white or pink. They always had to be a deep rich red color. I must admit I’ve always loved the contrast between the red flowers and the verdant green stems and leaves.
So, the other day I was missing her like crazy so I decided to go to Wentworth Gardens in Rollinsford, New Hampshire. It is a massive complex with endlessly long greenhouses and a gorgeous outdoor space filled with bushes, trees, and other flowering plants. My mom and I went there the first spring we lived in Maine and she loved it. It’s such a wonderful memory I have of her, seeing that gardening spark come alive again in her eyes again. I spent a good amount of time just walking around looking at all the flowering plants. Then I spotted the geraniums and a lump immediately formed in my throat. I made my way towards them and as I touched one of the blooms I felt the tears welling up in my eyes and I swallowed hard and took some deep breaths trying to compose myself. I didn’t want to have a full-on meltdown in public. I knew what I had to do though, and I’m sure you have figured it out as well. I bought three deep red geraniums and planted them in a large pot that sits on my porch. Sitting on the porch and transplanting them to their new home gave me a moment where I felt close to my mom again. That was a nice feeling to have when, for the most part, she feels so far away from me. Now, throughout the summer, when I see those flowers, I’ll smile because I know she’ll have the same look on her face when she looks down and sees them.
Childhood memories have the strength
Sparkling, bright, and untainted.
But don’t get hypnotized by the brilliance
Memories have many facets
And one can get lost very easily
In the past.
Lately, I’ve been thinking more and more to my childhood summers. I doubt it has anything to do with the recent Siberian conditions where I live. Nah, it couldn’t be that. (lol)
Anyway, I’ve mentioned how my family had a vacation house in New Hampshire. Well, during the summers we had a small boat on Squam Lake and we would spend weekends on that boat fishing and swimming. I still remember the first summer my parents decided I was old enough to sit up front with my older brother. Cruising through the channels towards the open lake, we would motor past vacation homes with towels drying on clothes lines and fluttering in the breeze like multi-colored terrycloth flags. Anticipation would build within me as the channel opened up to the wide area of the lake. My dad would gun the motor and we would be off, speeding across the water. Bouncing on every wave it felt like an amusement park ride to me and I loved it. I remember screaming and laughing because it felt like we were going 100 mph, even though I knew it was more like 30 mph, but still pretty fast.
One summer, my brother was able to buy a new fishing pole and he brought it to the lake with him. We had traveled to our favorite cove, with fairly deep water where we could swim to the shore and pick blueberries off the bushes that lined the water’s edge. At some point, early in the day, my brother’s line got stuck and he went to pass the rod to our father. When he reached for it, somehow it slipped and fell into the water. My brother grabbed his diving mask and dove down several times looking for his rod but the water was too murky where we were and he never found it. When we moved to a different spot in the lake, my brother was heartbroken and sat up front sulking. We fished in the new location for a couple of hours before my dad decided to head back to the cove. My brother had been very quiet that whole afternoon and we all left him alone, which wasn’t easy to do given the smallness of the boat. Late that afternoon, when my parents decided it was time to head back, my dad told my brother to pull up the anchor. And then he told him again. My brother didn’t move from his spot until the fourth time my dad told him to get the “God damn” anchor on the boat. I was in the back of the boat when my brother let out what I can only describe as a definite screech. We all turned to see what was going on and my brother was pulling the anchor up as fast as he could and yelling, “My fishing pole!” We didn’t quite comprehend what was going on until he reached over the side of the boat and stood back up holding his fishing pole in his hands. Somehow, it had gotten caught on the anchor line when he threw it in. We couldn’t believe it. We had left the area and come back and couldn’t understand how in the world the line got tangled in the anchor line. I was around 6 or 7 when this happened and I always imagined some kind of underwater fairy had helped my brother get his fishing rod back. Like freshwater mermaids or something like that. I don’t know, all I know is that that day we definitely witnessed some sort of miracle.
In honor of the Women’s Marches taking place around the United States, today’s description is of a world famous animal activist and primatologist.
Sitting down her head at an angle she smiles, wrinkles framing her eyes. Her greying hair tied up its usual ponytail so it’s out of her face. A chimpanzee rests its head on her shoulders. Looking at peace but with a vast wisdom in his eyes, he gazes out into the vast unknown. She is as comfortable with him as he is with her. A relationship between species created by her special magic.
I feel a great kinship to this woman because I have an affinity for animals too. As a child of about five years of age, in the winter, I would put birdseed in my mittened hand, hold it out and wait for birds to come eat from it. Usually kids my age wouldn’t have the patience for it but I would be enthralled at the sight of the first bird landing on nearby branches. I would stand as still as I could watching it as it looked me up and down trying to decide if my hand was a safe enough perch for it to land and eat. Feeling its little claws wrap around my finger as he bent down to grab a seed and then then the light push as he took off again made my heart soar as high as they did as they carried the seeds away.