Thank you all for your kind comments. Emily and I are still working on the finishing touches, which is the best part of moving into new digs, don’t you think? All the boxes are unpacked, and you’re just going around hanging pictures and picking out the sunniest windowsill for your geranium, and the place begins to feel like home.
Speaking of geraniums, they are blooming all over town: great big bushes of them. This knocked my socks off last year and it’s wowing me again. Perennial geraniums. Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore. We planted a small red geranium in our flowerbed last summer and it too is loaded with blooms. The African daisies, lovely white petals washed with blue, with deep purple-blue centers, are flaunting themselves all over the neighborhood. Rose can’t resist the clump in our backyard and as a result I am walking around with a daisy tucked behind my ear all day, and I forget it’s there until Scott comes home and teases me.
My friend Katie has a gorgeous tangle of orange-red nasturtiums in her front yard, the most dazzling groundcover you ever saw. At her daughter’s birthday party last week, another mother picked me a handful to bring home. I plunked them in one of the kids’ cups and it’s like the tropics on my windowsill.
Someone needs to teach me how to Photoshop out the water marks on my window. Except I don’t have Photoshop, so never mind. (In my defense, there’s a hanging basket on the other side of that window, so the glass gets sprayed with water every morning. What, you think I should do something about that?)
We had the Journey North gang here today. It’s getting so exciting: we’re beginning to be able to make guesses about the latitude of the mystery cities. City X has to be south of San Diego and north of the equator, that kind of thing. I love to see the light bulbs go off for the kids. The first few weeks of graphing photoperiods were kind of bumpy, but they’ve all got the hang of it now and they breeze right through. We have time afterward for practicing our Shakespeare scenes, which we’ll be performing for the parents sometime this spring. No hurry. The girls are deep into talks about costume plans. The boys hightail it outside for that part—and usually the girls aren’t far behind. Today they invented a game, so Jane tells me. It’s called “Something,” as in “Let’s play something”—thus a game is born. Jane was explaining the rules to me after dinner but by then my eyes were starting to make @ signs. Wednesdays are busy days.
Earlier this week, I took the four younger kids to a park during Jane’s science lab. Jackpot: the parks department had deposited a giant load of mulch on the playground at the foot of the slide, and they hadn’t started spreading it yet. Rose and Bean rushed to the top of Mulch Mountain, elevation at least six feet. They crowed their triumph there under the lanky eucalytpus trees, queens of the mountain for three whole minutes before Queen Rilla deposed them, ordering them to convey Her Royal Highness to the top. Wonderboy, loyal knave, made a brave sally down the slide into the soft hillside. I wished for a camera, or a royal portrait painter.
I thought about the picture on top of this blog, the one I had to bring with me here, no matter what. My father took it—how many 4th of Julys ago? I think Jane was seven, Rose about four. They’re on top of a mountain near our old home at the edge of the Blue Ridge. Here we are perched on the other end of the continent, still climbing mountains, still shouting with wonder on the heights. These are the golden years, I tell Scott all the time. I have been telling him that for ten years. Golden like a sunflower, crowned head craned upward to glory in the sun.
We planted sunflower seeds in the garden yesterday, or maybe it was Monday, when we came down from the mountain. I’m glad I have them here on this blog, too. They mean happy and golden and sunlight. I am glad, glad to be in my sunflower years.