Found This Rose

Unearthed from the Essential Roses chapter of a Reader’s Digest garden book:

perpetual rose
Descend         from other             perpetuals that

peak              at the end                   
after more is known       
its profuse blooming, the          flush of color
in autumn      the return of cool weather.  The rose-pink, double.

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Telling Spring

May’s almost gone – but as long as the redbuds hang on, spring hasn’t flown by quite yet.

I’m writing things out everyday.  The story folds back and forth like one of those fortune tellers we made in grade school.  We’d chant our Very Important Questions, snapping the paper beaks open and shut in rhythm to the words, hoping to discover true love forever hidden underneath the very last syllable.

The answers still come as a surprise to me, each time they re-appear, even though I’m the one who wrote them on the paper in the first place. Saying things I already know, but only to myself.  And anyway, who else would I tell?

And listening to Persuasion.  This song is like going to church for me – my articles of faith.  No matter when I’ve needed it – or why –  it has always been true.  I can hang my heart on every word.  After all, I still believe it.


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April Forth Again

Three a.m. is not my favorite time to be up.  The world is at its heaviest, coming reluctantly around to the idea of tomorrow, clinging stubbornly to the work yesterday left undone.  But by 4 a.m., the darkness is ready to let go.  The stillness grows buoyant, long before the first bird tries the air with singing.  We are counting down to daylight now – which, it must be said, comes with its own perils.

This will take both of us, honey.  We know that is true, because we came here together in the first place.  I’m not sure I know how to help – but I am here.  Even now, the curled buds are taking shape, concentrating their energy on the work they will do when April comes again.

All my love. B.

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A Short History of Used Cars I’ve Loved

Unconfirmed sighting near Hooker Avenue and Pleasure Drive

1979 Honda Civic CVCC, “Hondamatic.” White.  Last seen 1988 or 89.  Whereabouts unknown.

1988 Toyota Corolla 3 door, manual.  Brown.  Scrapped.

1990 (more or less) Saab 900, manual.  Black.  Flooded (compromised sunroof seals).  Scrapped.

1985-ish Toyota, automatic. Red.  Engine caught fire. Scrapped.  (Sorry, Marya – I loved that car.)

1998 Nissan Maxima, manual.  Black.  Totaled on Verona Road.

2005 Hyundai Elantra, automatic.  White.  Donated.  Totaled by new owner before the title cleared.

2002 Subaru Impreza, automatic.  Perfect in every way.


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Appreciation of Butterflies – Nineteen

Oh, baby, everything is so serious all of a sudden.  I think we are all in shock.  I mean – people can prepare but none of us knows what is coming.

My friend gave me some good advice this morning.  He said, “Just give her a good day.”  And I really wanted to, honey.  But pretty soon, my day was crowded with decisions that would have been paranoid just a few weeks ago.  Like whether I can keep the tchotckes on my bathroom counter?  No, I decided – too hard to clean, under the circumstances.  I needed to do a little actual work, too, so I can keep this miraculous job.

So, it wasn’t the day I wanted to give you – a trip to the antique mall, a drive by the lake.  Tea with the ladies – or a trip to Indy, to see where you are, and see all our folks.

But, I kept the window open all day, and the soft rain sounded like spring, and the cold air felt new and fresh.  I talked to Pammy – a force of her own nature, somehow keeping those wild boys anchored while the world turns upside down.  My ankle’s getting better,  and when I told my friend, she gave me advice from when she broke hers.  It was very comforting.

I made creamed hamburger for dinner because you told me that was your favorite birthday meal when you were a little girl.  And frozen strawberries and cream for dessert.  The cream thickened as it coated the thawed berries, and turned crab-apple pink with their juice.  I’m watching Ken Burns’ Country Music series – because I know you would love to see it.

I’ve given you all the butterflies I could, over these 10 years – and still there are so many left to tell.  To tell each day, just the things that you might want to hear about.  I do miss you, dear.  I don’t know why it’s so important to me to keep you planted here so firmly.  I guess I want us both to have a chance to look at things differently – to see that what is beautiful really does remain.

I love you, honey.  Sleep tight.  We’ll talk again, tomorrow.

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Appreciation of Butterflies – Eighteen

Hi, honey – I wonder how you are doing today?  My day had some sort of hard edges to it – a kind of hard disappointment, actually.  But – since you can resolve some things by just letting them go – that’s what I did.  Everything’s fine. I’m listening to your radio, which always sounds so good – and about which more some other night.  It happens to be Chopin, so you’d approve.

I’ve been going over all my pictures looking for butterflies.  The Dodgeville Butterfly Window is from the first year of 29 Butterflies, and it’s still one of my favorites.  I don’t know – maybe all the photo people think it is weak.  But nine years later, I wouldn’t make it any better or any differently.

Looking at so many images has surprised me.  Even some of the earliest ones hum with the distinct something I wanted to find.  I don’t know if that makes them good images – but it makes them enduring for me.

At the beginning, when I knew even less than the very little I know now, making pictures often wasn’t very fun – in part because I’m wired for so much self-punishment.  But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t play.

When you are finding out and failing, but you glimpse a little more every time – isn’t that the best feeling in the world?  Is there anything better than discovering something you dearly want to know?  When things are new, of course, trial and error dominates what you can create, and makes you quell your own impatience.  Since nothing is coming easy, the rewards can linger in the distance – arriving like little miracles when they choose.

It’s much, much harder when you think you know where you are headed, and how you will get there and what it will be like when you arrive.  And no, I’m not really talking about photography anymore.  Duh.

Now dear, after this navel-gazing ramble through the weeds in my brain, aren’t you barely keeping your eyes open?  I know I am…So I’ll let you tuck in for the night, and I will do all my night time things – and I will see you tomorrow, honey with some more butterflies.

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Appreciation of Butterflies – Seventeen

Now, dear this is so, so late we’ll just take what we can get said in a few minutes.  Dearest Deb invited me to make her something – about my travel daydreams – so I had to get that all ready tonight first.

We know your travel daydreams, honey.  The place where you felt you belonged, and could really be yourself – or the self you wanted so much to be.  London, by name.  Your Brigadoon.

I have a daydream, too – a place I feel I belong, where I am just myself – or would always try to simply be in my heart, if my brain tripped me up.  My place is much nearer – but not any closer, if I’m honest.  I have my own Brigadoon.

We’re not always the best judges of where our happiness will be found, are we, dear?  Can we agree that is true?  But it isn’t always as simple – either – as craving happiness.  Some people or places magnetize us, and our lodestone glows when find them.

So, I don’t know if happiness was what you went there to find.  But to risk deeply wanting something – and bear the disappointment of desire – this seems like the heart’s true destination.

I will see you tomorrow, darlin.  Nighty Night.

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Appreciation of Butterflies – Sixteen

Hi, baby – here we are.  Somehow Tuesday is turning over into Wednesday, and I think I am still stuck in Monday.  We only have a few more times to be together.  I can’t believe that either.  I feel like we just started.

So, I think “officially discarded,” is where you and I usually begin to get interested, isn’t it?  “Officially discarded” – that supercilious condemnation  – gets our Irish up.  Officials have been discarding us all our lives.  Too sensitive, too smart, too fat, too nearsighted – they toss us on the heap with all the other “too’s.”

Dreamers that we are, treasure hunters to the core – we squint in for a closer look at the pile.  And lo and behold we discover it’s only other dreamers and treasure hunters who have landed right next to us.  We don’t “not fit.”  We weren’t made for the likes of those officials in the first place.

Oh, lovey, that’s too much philosophy, and not enough everyday.  I am restless and bored; I miss my walk (broken ankle) and am feeling overwhelmed by the backlog of my work.  As a cure, I’m trying to have some daydreams and conjure a little future something out of nothing I know for certain.

Sleep tight, darling.  I love you.  See you tomorrow.



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Appreciation of Butterflies – Fifteen

Hi, Honey.  It’s so late, but I know you are probably up.  Night owl at your painting table, everyone finally quiet except one little twin who liked to sneak out of bed and stand in the hallway shadows, watching you work.

Here are the other butterflies at arms reach.  Essential:  Lynda Barry and Two Guys Salt.  You can put my ashes in the Two Guys Salt container, it’s that full of everywhere it’s been with me.  Boxes of words from other languages, just to roll around in my mind, to help loosen my grip on what wants to be said:  cependant, reveler, le repas, la chaleur, rire, cacher, chacun.  Meanwhile, reveal the meal, the heat.  Laugh. Hide. Each one.  It’s a decent poem, just like that.

This week will go fast, sweetie.  We won’t have too much time to talk.  My ankle still hurts, and I slept from 6:30 til 11:30 then got up to do the dishes and all my nighttime things and write you.  But everything’s good.  The butterflies are within reach.

Sleep tight, dear.  I’ll write you tonight.

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