Last summer, David and I bought two hydrangeas. The white one—called Annabelle—is in front of our bedroom window. The blue one, whose name I do not recall, in the tiny patch of a flower and herb garden we are attempting to not kill. David and I are so far away from the land, it is indeed luck alone that our Lucky Bamboo has not died even though it only requires fresh water.
We bought both plants at the farmer’s market we infrequent due to sleeping in and languishing over third cups of espresso or cappuccino. The guy who grows them is soft-spoken and his plants obviously listen to him. My desk now faces out the window and watches over this little patch of half-assed home making, yet somehow both hydrangeas have tender blooms coming in and our hope is sparkling and alive with each one of them.
In truth, we bought them to symbolize the child or children we hope to adopt. Maybe a girl. Maybe a boy. Maybe twins if the adoption gods can look past the bad luck of the bamboo in having us as house parents, and more to our spoiled rotten Springer Spaniel. Maybe. I find watching this blue plant shoot forth from the near-dead one we planted too late last summer (which, by the way, equals fall) amazing. Seeing it survive somehow lets me know I am going to survive all the upheaval of the last year.
I often find meditation in nature in a way I cannot find sitting in a holy cathedral or trying to pray in supposed prayerful spots. My mind is always too busy at church to really pray—for there is lunch to plan and people I want to catch up with that fill my monkey mind then. Air so pure that I cannot help but breathe God into my being just a little bit is of a different sacred order. Then, I find the mind quiet and the body lean into the moment. I cease striving out-of-doors. Even my backyard can bring the catharsis quickly to my aid. A majestic Ginko rises up out of our neighbor’s yard, and I remember again the Ginko’s of Hiroshima that still stand. I want those Ginkos to be my talisman too—we can survive the terrible blasts of life and in our survival we convey hope to those still in the throws of their own holocaust.
Today, as most days, a single white butterfly dances past my window begging for my attention. This butterfly has no other marks, so could almost be cut out of the bright white paper found in my desk drawer. The butterfly never seems to be on a particular errand, just back and forth like watching Wimbledon. I often see the butterfly and feel I am supposed to grasp something…that the butterfly is a secret I must decode. Hope or peace, perhaps? Something so pure and tender tugs at me with each pass before my window, and again I find myself distracted and wondering.
Today, as most days, I kept turning my head away from the folly of wasting time peering out my window only to see the butterfly lead me to look again as a groundhog tumbled across my yard, stood by that tender blue hydrangea struggling to live, and then scattered on across the yard to unknown destinations. This “Louisville Louie” is my very first groundhog sighting, and cause for great delight! I often tease my husband that groundhogs are mythical creatures and the only one known to humankind is Punxsutawney Phil, just to be difficult and ridiculous.
After a terrible attempt to capture Louie with my iPhone, and a mad dash to the back door with the “real” camera, I only have a smattering of images appropriate for Loch Ness Monster sightings one would find on supermarket tabloid. Maybe he is a mythical creature after all…
Once again the white butterfly pings back and forth across my window scene, and I am left wondering about bright blue boys who grow up fertile and strong, with an amazing colourful life, even if their family of origin struggles and has more dead wood on the plant than living. I wonder about light dappling on trees and where the honeysuckle perfume that swiftly blows by me out in my yard comes from. I wonder again about hope and peace, and how they too are as fragile and wondrous as a tiny white butterfly I could cut out of the bright white paper in my desk drawer.
Just as I was finishing up this piece, look who hopped along…