When I was a kid, I would spend many days in the summer on my grandparent’s farm. The days would often be so hot and bright that everything was almost burnished to a pure white in the glaring sun. The only thing you could sometimes spot were the various wild flowers growing alongside the gravel road. It was all very different from the manicured lawns and carefully placed flowers of the suburbs that I lived in. These flowers were dotted along the landscape at irregular intervals, and yet, seemed perfectly in place. Nature’s landscaping. I would pick a few and take them back to the farm house with me. A souvenir of found treasures plunked into a glass jar for safe keeping. My grandmother had names for all of them. Names that didn’t come out of books, but were passed down through the generations, including some that couldn’t even be repeated in polite company today. She’s no longer with us, but each time I see a collection of wild flowers I still think of her to this day.
It’s funny that sometimes the memories we attach to people are not always the obvious ones. My grandmother was far more known for her quilting and I still have cherished blankets that she spent days carefully crafting. This would be a more expected thing to associate, but many of those little squares of recycled fabric also contained flowers. From her perfume to the soaps she kept in the house, the soft, sweet and earthy smell of flowers were a constant. Beyond that, I remember the intangibles most. Her incredible sense of humor that seemed almost too modern in its uncanny wit and observational insight. She was my mentor growing up, teaching me things that I mostly took for granted at the time. In fact, I think it wasn’t until after she was gone that I realized the void. The missing bits of wisdom that I’d come to love so much. Though I was there, holding her hand and singing to her while she was in hospital on a few occasions, I was out of the state when she died and unable to return in time to attend her funeral.
There are times in life when we have regrets, those tedious moments that we can’t go back and change. I wish I’d spent more time with her in those final days. I was so busy and traveling too much that I could barely spend time with myself. Though I never missed being there for her birthday each year, I often missed many of the times in between. Life would intercede and demand so much of me, making each moment an unbearable choice. These days, I’ve learned to take life in a bit more moderation and focus on things that truly matter most. While it’s entirely too late to apply this knowledge to my past, it’s certainly comforting to know I’m heading into a wonderful future. Perhaps that’s why I tend to focus on bits of life that are often taken for granted. Ridiculously simple memories that might be lost if not captured and shared. Moments that often aren’t thrilling enough to demand a memory, but always demand a place in our hearts. I’ve not been to that old farm in years, but I’ll always have the fondest of memories, and continually long for those magical days spent where the wild flowers grow.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Da Vinci Yellow, Benzimida Orange, Opus (Vivid Pink), Leaf Green, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.