Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sunlight Multiplying

The garden is now in phase two. I purchased more plants this morning, selecting more or less at random those that appealed to me. I came upon a beautiful vine of Jasmine, which, after much deliberation, I decided to pot instead of plant. This way, I can take it with me when I move. The smell is delicious. It reminds me of a cross between Lilac (which I miss terribly -- they grew all over upstate New York) and Wisteria, yet Jasmine is much easier to contain than Wisteria.

There's still a significant bald spot, as you can see in the photograph below, that needs to be filled. I am thinking of getting two more plants like the one I have in the smaller plot that attracts the butterflies. It makes a terrific sprawling ground cover, with vivid orange and red blossoms. I also bought Creeping Jenny, which remind me of a girl's thin curly locks for some reason. These I planted in the lower portion of the flower bed, and added a tier-like boarder out of rocks to help with irrigation.

I've also got a healthy list of books waiting to be read. There are three books of poetry that Jenn gave me as a graduation gift: Hopkins, Auden, and Hardy. These are her favorite, and they are all important authors I haven't read yet, so I'm really looking forward to exploring their work. I also bought a new Alice Munro collection of short stories yesterday while I was waiting for Jay to get out of his massage. "Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You."

I also have to admit -- I'm rather tempted to just buy the entire collection of Alice Munro's work... it would be a very good investment!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The waiting is the hardest part

It's officially over. I graduated yesterday -- cum laude, research honors. The day was overwhelming, really. I hadn't had more than three hours of sleep the two nights before graduation. The ceremony itself was surprisingly short -- an hour and a half at most. The set-up was elegant and very well put together. Already I've been finding myself wandering around my house anxious and restless. It's like I don't know what to do with myself now that I don't have the stress and pressure of school, or the ongoing projects... or even the direction it gave me.

The morning began with a small ceremony for the honors department graduates, where I recieved a framed award for having completed research honors. Dad, Linda, and Grandma attended with me, and refreshments were served. We had coffee and lunch at the Landmark diner afterwards, just to kill time before the actual graduation. I told Grandma she was my guest of honor. She flew in from Long Island just to see me graduate. She is the most adorable little woman... so tiny! Maybe 90 pounds at 5'6. And just as sweet as pie.

My friend Ashley graduated with me, and we were so glad to be able to sit together and go through this experience with one another. It has brought us very close, which is a blessing to me. After the ceremony we had a house party with family and friends that lasted well into the morning hours! Champagne, wine, bbq, laughter, amazing people, guitars and singing... I couldn't have asked for a better day. It truly was one of the very best days of my life, and I write this with tears in my eyes.

My father also wrote me a card. In it, were the things a daughter always hopes and strives for her father to see in her, and in rare moments like these, she actually gets the opportunity to hear them. Here is what he wrote:

"My dear Jamie,
I've always been so proud of you. You're beauty and charm on the inside and on the outside. Now add to that wisdom and knowledge. I don't know how any one person can come so close to perfection. I love you always. Dad."

I will hold on to this note for the rest of my life, keeping it always near... and times in the future when I might lack faith or belief in myself, I will take this out and read it, to remind myself of my worth... to know that I am loved.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Little red wagon, Little red bike

Springtime is magical. The sudden afternoon storms that open up the skies, the hail, the salty-pavement smell bouncing off the heat-released streets... it's gorgeous, and I love its constant changes. The roses in my neighbor's side yard are in bloom. When the wind blows just right, I catch a huge wiff of their elegant scent wafting in my kitchen and bedroom. This is my favorite time to run. Honeysuckle and Wisteria blend together in the air, showers of petals fall on my head, and the breeze still has that hint of cool in it. It's magnificent; it's magical.

My ever-so wonderful neighbor Jenn was sitting alone on the porch last night when I came home. It is always such a delight to relax with her. She gave me a bean and jiicima salad she'd made, as well home-made smoked shrimp grits with bacon (soooooo good). She's been having an unfortunately difficult time lately. She'd been dating someone that she felt was perhaps finally the one. It didn't turn out to be so, and realizing this has proven to be a heavy blow. Of course, at thrity one years old, it is no wonder she is taking it hard. I can't really understand how someone hasn't swept her up yet... she is such an incredible catch. Brilliant. Insightful. Creative. Interesting. Beautiful. Thoughtful. Deep... the list goes on and on. I strive to be the woman she is, and always count myself blessed to be in her company.

To change course, today is the first day I have not felt the severe ache of loss. This isn't to say that I'm necessarily anymore put-together deep down in my emotional being, but it does say something about the healing process and about my overall outlook in general. I'm still not totally sure what the next step is in my life, but I'm feeling more at ease and less anxiety-striken over the uncertainties.

Next weekend is graduation. Holy cow. Is this really happening? It is... it is indeed. Today also marked a moment for me when I truly got in-touch with a sense of personal accomplishment and pride for all of the hard work, trials and tribulations, I've endured to get to this place today. I am proud of myself. It's been a long, often difficult journey.... a journey that has spanned three states, three different schools, three lost loves, and countless skin-sheadings. It is a remarkable milestone, and truly a moment to step back and really examine all of the changes, all of the history, wrapped up in these last six years. Questions about where I am going from here fade into the background when I think about how much I've done, been through, and accomplished. Sure, there have been many failings along the way as well, but can they really be counted as failings if I have endured them, pushed through, and continued the path of growth and learning? I really don't think so.

I pray for good things in the days to come. I'm looking forward to a summer of travel, writing, learning to sew, moving house, planting flowers, experimenting in the kitchen, investigating graduate programs in journalism, and watching the vegetables sprout.

Music selection: Josh Ritter