In the garden, the Crape Myrtle bushes are in bloom. Prior to the monsoon rains, they bloomed sporadically and indifferently, but as soon as the rains began, they came into full flower. They prefer the rain from heaven to the water that comes from the faucet. Somehow theyknowthe difference.
The days are a little cooler now. In the afternoons, great towers of cumulus clouds form in the sky, and if we are lucky, we get a good downpour during the night. I love the sound of the rain pattering on the skylights.
Last night at sunset there was no rain, but I caught a glimpse of something I hold dear but rarely actually see — the cloud with the silver lining. Yes, Virginia, it does exist.
In the mountains, my husband and I have a small vacation townhome. The patio is just large enough for a table with an umbrella, four chairs, and a few flower pots. The ponderosa pine just beyond the gate is the main attraction, but even here, I must have a little garden. When I came back this time, to my delight I saw that my neighbors had kept my petunias and marigolds alive in my absence. Good neighbors are so precious.
On my first day back as I was sitting on the patio, a bee appeared out of nowhere and buzzed around my head several times. It was clearly angry, and it was clearly trying to chase me away, but I held my ground. At home in the garden I move among the bees as they pollinate the flowers, and they never seem to mind my presence. However, this mountain bee was seriously upset, even though I was minding my own business. The next day on the patio, it returned and buzzed around my head again, but not as many times, and not for so long.
I haven’t seen it since. It has apparently accepted me as a neighbor.
Just sitting in the garden – not as easy as it sounds, especially when there are duties of life awaiting me. I think it’s important, though. Most of the time I run from one task to another until I have to stop and rest. Are those tasks really that important?
This morning I saw a roadrunner running across the road. (In Southern New Mexico, we really only see them when they are running across the road. Hence, the name.) Almost impossible to get a photo. They are always running.
I think I will just sit here for a while and ponder the mystery of being.
The showy blooms of spring have passed, and the garden is settling down for the long hot summer. However, there is still some color to delight me, especially in the Desert Bird of Paradise shrubs.
In the courtyard, I planted some different annuals this year, since many of my usual choices were not available. The Zinnias began to look shabby as the days grew hotter, but they are doing better now under the Vitex tree. In this climate, many plants that like full sun actually do better in filtered shade. The Moss Roses, however, seem to be natural sun-bathers, even in Southern New Mexico.
Indoors, my plant nursery from cuttings is showing mixed results. Again, the dry heat seems to be a problem. The Mint, Rose Geranium, and Citronella are promising. Not so sure about the Salvia and Lantana. All of the cuttings seem to do better in water than in soil, but it takes longer for the roots to form.
On the back patio, my herb garden seems to do well in the morning sun.
If all else fails, I will still have my triennial Petunia to comfort me. It grows so fast and so profusely that I will have to cut it back several times this summer.
In our courtyard, the Vitex tree is crowned with purple blossoms. The bees and butterflies flit and dive above the branches in an elaborate ballet. Somehow, they avoid collision. I look forward to this display every year. It will only last for a week or so, and then the flagstones below will be covered with a carpet of purple petals.
The potted Calibrachoa compete for the spotlight. Elsewhere in the garden, the Purple Cloud bushes are in bloom. Later in summer, after the monsoon rains, their display will be even more spectacular.
This week I am up in the mountains. At home, my husband is faithfully watering my plants. This morning when I called, he had just finished watering the courtyard. He had lingered for a moment, and he remarked how nice everything looked.
Outside, my garden is growing. I water it, and God does the rest. Inside, I have discovered a garden of unfinished projects that need my attention.
So far, I have completed a crocheted shoulder wrap that doesn’t exactly look like the picture on the pattern. Yet, it’s wearable. Pictured above is my unfinished embroidered pillow case. I neglected it for so many years that I forgot how to do the back stitch. (It was much harder doing the stitch forward before my memory kicked in.)
Waiting in the wings is the velveteen fabric destined for living room chair cushions. And for over a year, an unfinished red shawl has gathered dust on my triangular loom. It only needs a few more rows and the fringe.
This quiet Lenten season has been a time of peace and reflection for me. Today, we enter the solemn Triduum in preparation for Easter. I will watch the Mass of the Lord’s Supper tonight as it is streamed live from my parish (without the parishioners). This is one of my favorite Masses of the year. I long to receive Holy Communion, but it won’t be possible for me tonight. Yet, I sense there is grace to be received on this quiet day at home.