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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quest: (n) a search or pursuit made in order to find or obtain something

I couldn't decide on the best title for this post- it was either 'quest' or 'therapy.' Here's why:

I detest winter. With a visceral, vehement intensity. I do love New England- the beautiful coast, the breezy summer days, and I can appreciate the colors of fall. But when that first sign of colder weather comes, a foreboding sense of dread puts a damper on the autumn for me--because I know what lies ahead. It's that bad.

So, this Saturday, on a shoot in the woods, I took some time after the session was over, and walked in search of a few things, which are, right now, rather hard to find. Color. Signs of spring. And a small sliver of sanity.

This is what I found:

The following image was taken with my 50mm 1.8- check out that seriously shallow depth-of-field... Yummy!

It was nice, finding some greenery amidst the winter browns and greys, but still, not enough. So I searched the yard here at home to find allium and tulips popping through the soil, and even the glorious star-shaped lupines making their 2009 debut! Now that made this gardener-in-waiting wondrously happy!

Of course, stepping away from the intense scrutiny of my soil, this is what the house looks like from afar. Hmm. Seriously lacking. So I looked inside. Really deep inside my computer. To my Pictures file. And there it was. The proof that someday, in the (rather near?) future, our yard will go from looking like this:

To this, back to its blissful state of summer being:

Which means I can again wander the paths of my hedge garden, and get my fingers caked with soil. I can again fill my little cold frame with lettuce seedlings, and remove the burlap from my hydrangeas-

-and call my flowers by name. Yes, you read that correctly. I do sometimes bid good morning to William Shakespeare. And say hello to Jude the Obscure. And ask Abraham Darby how he's really doing. Pat Austin always gets a quiet smile from me, too. Hey, you would greet them, too, if your roses had such marvelous names. -- What?! You would! (It's okay, I know that people may be thinking that this post really should have been entitled therapy, because I sound like I need it badly at this point. But this is working for me. Really.)

So I had found my visual signs of spring, both outside and in the recesses of my computer. But then, I heard something.

There was a little trill, a giggle in the backyard. And then I realized that in all my searching, I had finally found what I was looking for: the true rite of spring, right here at home. A set of 5 year old twins, ecstatic with delight, running to find me to tell the momentous news: Nora and Connor both had finally accomplished what is of utmost importance to any 5-year-old: The monkey bars were conquered!

I saw the look of pure joy on their little faces, and that's when I knew for sure. Spring really is coming.

"It's spring fever... You don't quite know what it is you DO want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!"

-Mark Twain, American author, lecturer, humorist. (1835-1910)

*Oh, and Happy St. Patty's Day to those who celebrate it. St. Patrick's Day has meaning for me, but only from a gardener's point of view: See, in many of my books on roses, it states that the best time to prune is between St. Patty's Day and April Fool's Day. So that's why it matters to me--it marks the first day of official garden chores.

I have to admit with chagrin that although my maiden name is Ryan, and my Great Grandma Nora McBrierty probably wouldn't be proud of me for stating this, I have never partaken of corned beef and cabbage. That's right, a 28-year-old Irish girl who is so deprived. And I'm okay with it. I may feel a bit guilty, but I find consolation in the fact that it's really not a traditional Irish dish, anyway. However, I may try making it next year on St. Patty's. Maybe. It might help with the whole guilt thing.


  1. ahhhhh the flowers looks so nice. I can't wait to plant some lettuce, wish I had some space at the condo to plant!

  2. You can always come here and claim a space in my cold frame... :)

  3. Very nice pics. even though that planting stuff doesn't interest me at all :) I still think I might have been switched at birth :)

  4. No, I don't think so, Minna. :) Something tells me that's not the case! :)

  5. Someone I know had corned beef and cabbage last night!

  6. Betz I gotta tell ya that your photos really are great. I have been watching this blog from day one and had yet to give any input (not that any was even asked for)I find your Bergen Evans words to be quite a hoot. I will say that speaking to the rose bushes does really concern me.

  7. I only wish I knew who posted the above comment... :) Bergen Evans?!! WHAT??! :)I forgot all about Bergie words!

  8. Come on Betz. Maybe you could offer a $5 Gift Card to the person who can confirm the Indentity of the Bergie Person. Tell ya what maybe I'll raise it to $10 if you can figure it out by noon tomorrow. I said Maybe.

  9. I had corned beef and cabbage last night, as Dan wasn't home on the 17th and I have to tell you I REALLY liked it!!!

  10. Still trying to figure out the anonymous Bergie comment, and it's driving me rather nuts! :) Definitely someone who attended EHS...