Need I say how much I love the name "bleeding hearts" for a flower? The first time I ever saw this flower was in the well-maintained front yard of a friend's grandfather's house in Scituate, and I have loved them ever since. He has recently passed away, and I'll remember him for his sturdy kindness and his flowers. He was one of those people in whose home you cannot truly feel like a stranger, because the light is too homey, the occasional silences too companionable. You can't look at this flower without thinking about love, the passionate love of a sweetheart, or the companionable love of family.
There were irises in the Ropes Mansion garden that remind me of my college mentor, who I think still lives in California. I remember sitting in her narrow office surrounded by books on ancient Greece and Rome, the professor telling me about scattering shell in her garden for flowers, most notably, the acanthus (which I've chosen to show here instead of the irises). My mentor loved the acanthus flowers best because she had a passion for ancient Greece, and Corinthian columns are decorated with acanthus leaves at the top and at the base. I can't see an acanthus plant without thinking about her. Once in a blue moon I get a regular card or a postcard in the mail from her, which I tack onto my office wall because they usually have a beautiful picture of Greece -- buildings, people.
She generously taught me my second year of ancient Greek in her office. I wrote my compositions on her board, and together we puzzled through translations of wonderful ancient texts. Another professor taught me medieval Latin in the same manner, 1:1 in his office. He has since moved on in the world, tending a Victorian bed and breakfast in Nova Scotia, a place I will visit, one day. These flowers will always remind me of the generosity of spirit of professors who are moved to give of their time like this. Can you imagine being so lucky, to bend your head over an ancient text with the whole of a scholar's passionate attention fixed on you? I was so lucky. I am so lucky.
My father is recovering from cardiac surgery that he says was like "getting hit by a truck." It's a miracle of medicine that he can go out the sliding door, down the driveway, and walk along the lake to his post box. He says he's going a little farther each day, and that he's determined to "stay on the green side of the grass." His spirit and his quiet, iron will reminds me of my partner's grandfather, who when asked how he is says, "I can't complain. Wouldn't do any good."
I've never had a garden like the one I have now, and the one I have now is in full bloom, but I haven't taken any photographs of it this year, because I've been too busy quitting writing.
I see this rose, and I think of my research, and also my very first herb garden, which I planted in a half whiskey barrel on the terraced part of my back yard. There's chives and oregano, orange mint and thyme, basil, sage, and cilantro. I'm watering them and hoping with all my heart that I will be able to cook with them soon, the idea of pulling something from the garden that I nourished that will in turn nourish me an exciting prospect.
I want to know what's in the little building behind the greenhouse. I can see into the greenhouse, but the windows on the attached building are covered with vinyl blinds. Maybe it's full of statues or spare parts or moldy sofas or piles of gardening clogs. I don't know what's in there, but I get the sense that it can be whatever I want.