Sunday, October 1, 2023

My Nasturtiums

Sometime in the middle of the summer I planted nasturtiums and marigolds from seed along the fence, and they have been gloriously blooming all September, and now it's October! There's a tiny nasturtium patch blooming under the Little Free Library for Iris Harley, who would be 5 now--next year to be joined by white anemone. Almost everything in my yard is native or perennial or I harvest seeds from one year to plant the next. Chicory and Queen Anne's Lace come on their own.

My friend Ken Kashian, photographer, asked if he could have some leaves and blooms for a photo project. Yes, come over! He did. These are his photos. This one, which reminds me of a ballet dancer, is my new Facebook profile picture. The delicacy and light in these photographs are helping me, sustaining me. September has been a hard month, emotionally. My mother was in the hospital for a week and has now been released to memory care, where we are gradually adorning her room with comfortable, familiar, and beautiful things. Visits are brief. She's doing OK.

My brother and his wife have been here, visiting family and helping me clear out the family home. Heavy lifting! Husband helping, too, and yesterday he transported about a dozen boxes to Books to Benefit. Books, paintings, clothing, kitchen things, pretty things, music, and eventually furniture will all be finding new homes. (Let me know if you need anything! We might have it!) Dusty sorting, nostalgia, family photos...

My father is coping, grieving, raging, and, perhaps, relaxing a bit. Maybe some stress will fall off. Maybe he can make new social patterns. The university archivist took 26 boxes of his papers--teaching materials, publications, plays, drafts, authored books... There is so much more left to sort in the house. I am exhausted in all the ways. But imagine him--his whole life gone, the marriage torn, two frail loving people, near but apart.

Friends, as well as family, are helping in supportive and practical ways. I am so grateful. And a special joy this weekend was our houseguest, fiber artist Pat Kroth, here for the Sugar Creek Arts Festival--and, a nice surprise for her, a double award winner! One of the awards is for art that uses recycled materials. I am happy to say that some of her future art will include a watercolor silk dress from my mom, and some of her skinny jeans!

For the first time in a long time, I reached for my poetry drafting notebook, to capture two lines that came to me suddenly: "Remember the knife / and the tiny spoon." These are a cake knife and a salt spoon, brought home from the farmhouse--the spoon because it is so tiny and charming, the knife in case I bake a cake. But who knows what they will be in the eventual poem? It is assembling itself in fragments. "Will there be a piano?" I don't know where it will go next.


Skinny Boy Hill said...

I see that Louise Gluck has died. I have a couple of her collections and resonate with her realistic bleakness.

Also, our mutual friend Winklett's mom has died.

Sorry for only grim news, but it ia a part of my rotten nature.

Kathleen said...

I'm sorry about Winklett's mom. Sad about Louise Gluck, too.

Maureen said...

Dear Kathleen, I did not know about your mother until now, while catching up on your posts. I send you many all-enveloping hugs.

Kathleen said...

Thank you, Maureen.