20 years ago today
on the morning of may 8 1998, after a night of startling but bearable contractions, i arrived at the hospital believing i could probably handle a natural birth. i got about an hour into the very beginnings of serious contractions, with my husband leaning over me with coffee breath trying to get me to breathe my way through the pain, before i decided that modern western medicine in general, and the epidural in particular, were the greatest inventions in human history, worth a dozen relativity theories, polio vaccines, and apples falling on the heads of mathematical geniuses put together. once the anesthesiologist had numbed my lower half, i enjoyed a restful, talkative delivery of a baby girl, who came out howling, has been an intense and self-assured anchor in all of our lives ever since, and who turns 20 years old today. everybody thinks their child will be one who changes the world. but not everybody still thinks that when their children have finished their teenage years. eva is another story, and whether she changes the world in a big or a small way, she is the only daughter, and the only kind of daughter, i would ever want to have.
white oak leaf
plants hanging upside down normally make me think of root cellars with garlic and onions drying in bunches against winter’s hunger. but what if you get hungry for beauty? ah, well then you hope you have hung some tulips the prior spring, and stored them against some long, cold day, after too much aesthetic and spiritual fasting.
pretty or interesting
my husband and i have a pattern. when i go foraging for STILL blog material, my eye tends to come to rest on the prettiest thing i see. when i send my husband out to forage for me, his eye is drawn toward the most interesting thing he sees. he will sometimes say to me, “that is very pretty” in a tone implying that there is more to life than pretty. i will often greet him on his return with the phrase, “i see we’ve chosen interesting over pretty again today,” in a tone implying that “interesting” isn’t always so interesting that i particularly care to take its portrait. today you get interesting. an interesting that i was not too thrilled about until i started playing with it and realized that almost no one ever takes photos of may apples in this state, when they have just emerged from the ground looking like waterlogged palm trees, and their great leaves are unfurling like umbrellas just after you’ve just unsnapped the little belt down by the handle. very interesting. ok, well . . . back to pretty tomorrow.
emergent mayapple stalks
take a close look…
there’s a lot going on here. there are the bouquets of maple blossoms, and beneath them the stringy unfurling leaves, and beneath them the burst petals of the original buds, and below them the segmented branches with additional buds that will not be leaves but new branches someday. and if you were looking up into this maple tree tonight around dusk you would have seen the first dartings of insects among these blossoms and the darting after those insects of the season’s first warblers. a little closed seasonal world in the top of a single tree.
sugar maple tree blossoms
these tiny siberian scilla, or squill, are coming up along our driveway in pastel blue waves right now. despite knowing that they are invasive, i love seeing them because they are one of our first doses of color after the snow melts. unfortunately i am missing this little pageant because i have managed to catch some kind of flu, just in time for spring, after surviving all winter intact. tomorrow will be day four of prostrating fatigue, headaches, chills and fever, and a sore abdomen from coughing so hard. these little flowers are puny. but not as puny as i feel right now. happy spri…cough hack wheeze…spring.
blue scilla (siberian squill)