A few weeks ago I bought a pine tree. Just a small one–an indoor Norfolk pine. Someone had bought the other one or I would have gone home with a pair. Just as well. My house is turning into a jungle. Better to collect plants now and stock up on oxygen before Boston goes all Beijing. Anyway, it’s doing well after transitioning from a pampered home where it was probably fed fancy fertilizer. Here, it just gets water. It seems to like looking out the window though.
For the record, I went to this other house sale with the cool door back in August, but no one answered the knocking fox. I even tried the door, but it was big and heavy and stuck or locked. I bet they had good stuff.
Today I took a walk because I could. Yesterday at this time I was at the finish line with some friends in the very spot that’s on the news, playing over and over again. We were cheering for our friend and her fiance as they approached the finish line. They finished side by side at 2:37. The first bomb went off at 2:50. Proud of her accomplishment, we were more grateful for her speed. Just one bathroom break or leg cramp later, we might have had a very different story to tell.
I may have been trying too hard to see something good on my walk today, but two hearts jumped out at me, lopsided as they are.
One year, my friend and I took a rejuvenating hike on New Year’s Day, and as the snow softly fell on our fuzzy hats, it felt like the perfect way to embrace the new year. Of course, it might have been the free hot chocolate.
This year, with California temps and snow on the ground on New Year’s Day, another friend and I took to the woods with our new snowshoes. After tromping around on packed snow and not quite hitting our stride, we noticed we were being lapped by walkers.
“Christmas present?” one guy asked.
“Yup,” I said. “From last year.”
One shoe kept bumping into the other and I stepped on myself more than once. About a mile in, we took off the blasted things and walked back, vowing to try them in new fallen snow—where they’re meant to be used and could be quite enjoyable—while at the same time hoping that we never have that much snow again. In the meantime, they’re handy for getting to your car in a storm.
Anyway, I like the idea of layering up and getting outdoors on New Year’s Day with the promise of a whole year stretching ahead like a long path in the woods. I like spotting deer tracks, and red berries on the white snow, and discovering intriguing creature hideaways like this hollow:
Hello, in there
Just makes you want to crawl inside with a stash of acorns and hibernate until spring.
I almost died in Mt. Auburn Cemetery.
My boyfriend and I were exploring the rolling grounds this weekend, admiring the trees and flowers in bloom (lilacs!) and remarking on the inordinate number of families who had taken their mothers there for Mothers Day. Because nothing says thank you like, “Hey, mom. Let’s go to the cemetery!”
Anyway we were looking for a bench where we might take a break from our stroll. It seems to me the cemetery is a place where you might like to sit awhile and ponder your life and existence, but there was nary a bench to be found. And it just seemed wrong to lounge on a grassy knoll mere inches above dead people.
Finally, by the chapel, we spotted a couple of sunny benches. Focused on the prize, I wasn’t gazing skyward or admiring the trees, which is why I was stunned when THUMP, something hit me on the head. I half-heartedly suspected my boyfriend of hitting me though that seemed unlikely and frankly, mean. Then we both spotted the suspicious branch that had used me as target practice. It was no giant limb, but it wasn’t a twig either. Ouch.
All I can say is that I’m waging a vendetta against trees now and that oak had better watch its bark.
Walking through Cambridge is like touring an arboretum. Elaborate landscaping surrounds mammoth Colonials with gardens overflowing with petite flowering trees and flowers I can’t name. I feel a kinship to a tree or two—the lilacs I wrote about last week and this blossom-heavy tree that shivered pink petals in the slightest breeze, a few landing in my hair and on my shoulders. I’ve never been attacked so gently by such sweetness. This morning though, the flowers lay faded and crumpled, the tree clinging to a few blushing bunches, the wind now too strong a competitor. I captured it while it was still rosy: