Remember the day around mid-July when I posted my response to a pair of memes here at the Midnight Garden? They were things I’d been tagged on and not addressed for a while, and it was a relief to know I’d taken care of that and could get back to the daily garden photos. Well, for a few minutes, anyway, until I learned I’d been newly tagged by my pal James over at Lost in the Landscape (whose completely different garden blog is another of those daily treasures the blogging world has to offer. Go look at the teasel.).
So, that meme was supposed to be 10 random things about me. I’ve already done a couple of those and there’s the 100 List, too (though I suspect some of that may require revision in future months). James gave me permission (while simultaneously pointing out that the 100 list lacked a #26) to just do six or seven things, because of the meme-convergence.
I decided to go for eight, although you may find that each of the eight points contains more than just one random bit. Meanwhile, I wanted to do something to mix it up a bit, make it more interesting than just another list and so I dug around in some old photo albums to see what I could find. Please cue the Bob Hope theme music and we’ll begin.
1) This is a dear old friend: the apple tree in our New Jersey back yard in whose arms I passed many a lazy summer day of my childhood…and thanks to the annual drop of crab apples, a few of those days were spent tidying up the yard, too. To the right of center, you can see two waterspout-y kind of limbs, which were just the right distance apart to serve as a sort of tree seat, where you could lounge with a small pile of comic books in your lap and read in the apple-scented breezes.
The fledgling garden photographer took this photo in May of 1979, just before we moved away to the Adirondacks of upstate New York. A close examination of recent Google Earth imagery suggests that some subsequent owners of the property have removed the tree and filled the tiny space with a swimming pool. The silly fools.
2) That same fledgling photographer took this picture of my Mom’s tulips in that same yard, same year. Note how the tulips themselves are out of focus, but the lovely purple violets in the background are fairly clear. That still happens to me…all the time!
3) So we moved to the mountains, which was an interesting change. From a class of 300 in northern New Jersey, I now had 17 classmates, and we were the third-largest class in the history of the local K-12 school.
I’m grateful to have spent so many of my “formative” years in a place of such incomparable beauty and I’m happy to know I have so many friends there still, for when I want to visit in the future!
The town is called Long Lake, as it is situated to straddle the lake of the same name, which is fourteen miles long. Technically, though, the body of water is actually a widening of the Raquette River and thereby not a lake at all. But whatever.
Here’s a view of it looking south from over the town beach. That’s not the long end, but I forgot to scan that photo.
In the center, more or less, of this image, is the property we moved to, which included a small cottage colony for summer rentals…which also made life pretty interesting, at least between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
I’ve sketched in an arrow (tho thanks to the monitor issues here, I’ve no idea just what color that arrow is…) which indicates the site of the very first garden I ever really got to create and tend.
Of course, it didn’t exist until we sold and moved some of those cottages.
By the way, these two photos were also taken in 1979, by the same young photog, during the only fifteen minutes of my life I have ever been aloft in an airplane.
4) Once those cottages were removed, there turned out to be more than enough space for a good long border garden in the corner of the property. In time, the garden looked like this. Here it is around 1995 or so.
It was my first real chance to play with something other than annuals. Of course, since it was USDA Zone 3, the choices were still somewhat limited.
A few of the perennials in this garden (the Shasta Daisies, the Garden Heliotrope and some tall garden phlox) are plants which made the move with me, eventually and still live.
They are now planted in the fence garden I feature here every day.
5) When I moved to Cape Cod and settled in Provincetown in 1997, I lived for a time in a second story apartment where there was no garden. However, there were gardens a-plenty all around and I enjoyed walking or biking about town to admire them all. This also gave me a little time to study just what it was possible to grow in this different climate, USDA Zone Coastal 7.
I did, however, use a stash of old theatrical lighting gels leftover from college and some black electrical tape to create this faux stained glass window in the apartment, which I still think was pretty damn cool.
Like so many of Life’s most interesting things, it was very temporary, since I hadn’t thought to create it on a piece of plexiglass or anything like that which I could actually have moved. Only this photo remains.
She was a wild, untrained dog of great strength and will who’d been to the pound three different times before our paths crossed hers. While our relationship was rocky at the start, to say the least, it was clear that she loved us for our devotion and faith in her.
This image is taken in early December 1998, just two months after she’d joined the household and is truly a moment frozen in time. The doggy bed pillow and “Santa’s Helper” holiday scarf were two early-season gifts we gave her earlier that evening.
By the following morning, the pillow was a cloud of white fluffy filling which wafted about the living room.
By Christmas morning, three weeks later, she’d chewed all of the scarf she could reach so that, appropriately, only the letters “Santa’s Hel” remained.
It was a lovely show the following summer and nicely symbolic of our new relationship. Which isn’t to say that territorial issues about the garden didn’t also crop up, as a result of the merging.
We ended up moving the following year, the first of many for us. Many of the plants came along for the ride, but a host of them remained behind. We can still enjoy some of their bloomings as we drive by our old homes each year. Just look at all those lilies.
8) In the summer of 2002, this pair of golden snapdragons in our Wellfleet garden made me cry one hot July morning, as they reminded me of the Twin Towers that had fallen in New York City the previous year and how the world around us was beginning to change.
** This isn’t one of the eight points, but just to put this out there, it’s now been fifteen days without one of those cigarette things. There’s been a few surprise cravings this week, but nothing I couldn’t work through.
The Nicodemon, you get him under your heel, but the little bastard is kind of like one of those gremlins in a horror movie that just won’t quite die. Oh, but this one will…and quite horribly, too.
Heh heh heh….
As a bonus (but you all can decide if it really IS one or not), here’s a fresh look at the Midnight Gardener, who in the heat of late July remembered he was the proud owner of a pithe helmet (just one of the spoils of a late-night raid on the costume store room of the fine arts building of my college way too many years ago.). Since he rarely remembers a hat in the hot sun, this was a good thing, stares from the neighbors aside.
I won’t wax poetic or adventurous about hacking through the jungle that is the Weeds of Late July, as Jenn has recently done so to great effect over at Of Cabbages and Kings and I couldn’t top that.
It was she who reminded me I had such a hat in my possession, though she knew it not. I also thank her for the chuckles she brings me each day with her humor writing. Laughter is the seasoning that makes so much of Life palatable, and we should just pour it on everything. Well, almost everything. No, Everything. Because good gods, Life is too short.
I’m tempted to tag a bunch of you, but it’s no doubt a somewhat more complex meme now that I’ve added the component of having to scan old photographs, so I don’t want to be the source of that burden. However, if you’ve got some old pics you wanna share and a few interesting things to say about them, well, I bet it’d be lots of fun to see what you come up with.
Hope it’s a great weekend for you all!