Thursday, July 28, 2016


We repeat ourselves. In obvious ways and in ways we do not realize or even fully understand. And I don't just mean the rerun of the same old, like the breakfast on the porch theme here, at the farmette. (Though yes, there was a lovely breakfast on the porch, with Ed sporting his Woody Allen look -- something he does when, for example, I am not fully comprehending why I cannot open a window when we turn on our brand new and about time we got one dehumidifier in the basement.)

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Nor do I mean merely admiring yet again that familiar bed of lilies before the porch...

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What I'm thinking of is the stuff that we rerun in our lives because it made us happy once and it makes us happy again. And again.

More on this later. First, a run through the day. And by now perhaps you've figured out that if it's Thursday, then it's gym class for Snowdrop. And I'm her partner here.

(Stepping onto the balance beam: let go, grandma! Gulp! Snowdrop, go slowly!)

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(Her biggest thrill: maneuvering through the entanglements in the "doughnut hole.")

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(Bubbles end the class.)

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We always visit the library after gym class. This time, she discovers something I had no intention of having her discover: the children's computer station. When she is with me, I never let her touch my computer. Ever. (I doubt that her parents give her the freedom to pound away either.) But at the library, there is no penalty to clicking away. For once, I do not say "no." Her reaction? See for yourself:

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We then go to Paul's coffee shop. Yes, she has a cookie bit, yes, yes, the usual. But perhaps more interesting for my grandma record of our time together is the handful of minutes after, where she walks over to the play corner and shows off her love of letters. (Did I tell you? She has a love of the alphabet -- she'll get very excited by an "esh" or a "why." I don't know how she got there. I don't think any of us have been especially zeroed in on letter identification. No, she did not draw these on the board. She merely identified some of them.)

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We're home. Our little Dodgers fan, welcomed as always by the cheepers.

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(After her bath, she plays with chickens inside the farmhouse.)

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And now I have just way too many pictures of Snowdrop from the rest of the day. With the cheepers, with the flowers, in various lovely spots in the gardens, and that's all fine -- a grandma in love with her granddaughter, surrounded by the flowers -- but during Snowdrop's nap, as I study them on my computer, I am interrupted by a message coming in from my daughter. She's sending two photos that she'd picked up from a family album (ones she tracked down after reading my Monday post). The year was 1988. We were visiting Washington D.C. and of course, I would have had us take a peek at the Impressionists in the National Gallery. I seem to have taken just three photos of my daughters there. Two are shockingly familiar. Here, take a look. First, my youngest, when she herself was just three...


And here are both girls. Two sisters, looking on at the girl with the watering can.

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So how did this come to be? I focused on those two paintings 28 years ago. How is it that they came to my mind again just this week? I've seen hundreds if not thousands of paintings since then. (I love popping in on special exhibitions or revisiting familiar ones.) Why was it that exactly these, the same two popped into my mind again?

Because. They recalled then and they recall now all that is good and beautiful when you look outside. I have to think that I recognized that loveliness first when I was about Snowdrop's age, in the gardens of the village house where I lived with my grandparents as a toddler. And I recognized it again when my daughters gazed at those paintings. And I saw it yet again when Snowdrop stood in that garden and looked so very innocent against that backdrop of flowers.

Let me post just a few more photos from this afternoon. Of Snowdrop. Of flowers. Of cheepers. Of innocent joy and trust and beauty. At least this is what they recall for me.

(Picking tomatoes.)

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(Visiting ah ah in the sheep shed.)

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(The grandest of grand lilies.)

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(Yet another bed of spectacular ones.)

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(After her nap, Snowdrop insists on taking penguin out for a walk in the garden. Another Monet moment? It is for me...)

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(She takes to the watering can again...)

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(... and has conversations with cheepers who are never far from her side.)

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(Running to visit the guy in the sheep shed...)

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(Pausing to smell the flowers. Or, to let penguin smell the flowers...)

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I'll end with two pics of butterflies. I did not know their name, but I asked about them at the farmers market tonight and I got the right answer: swallowtails.

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Swallowtails, because if you look at them closely, you'll see in their wings that sweep of a swallow's tail.

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Did I ever tell you what powerful symbolism swallows have for me? About my tiny swallow tattoo? About the name of my Great Writing Project, which has the name swallow in it?

We just repeat ourselves in our good thoughts, nothing more. And you know, that's not such a bad thing.


  1. WOW! There is so much so fascinating and beautiful here... you've outdone yourself!!!

  2. Nina, what a beautiful post. Links in a long chain. Since reading this earlier this morning, I have been thinking and thinking about connections.

  3. I just came back to your pictures, which I often do when it's just a few minutes until my husband comes home. Garden photos and a glass of wine. You see, I know how to treat myself well. It's the small things.

    I like Snowdrop's garden dress and your swallowtail pics.
    Well, I have in the past done a lot of garden photography, including the macro photography, and I have some marvelous close-ups of garden life (I chose the word especially for the root of "marvel") I have enlarged the photos and put them in sleeves to share them with my preschoolers.
    I'm winding up to say, here, that I wonder if Snowdrop would like to watch nature DVDs with you. Just this month I had beautiful NOVA and National Geographic specials on DVD from the library: birds, butterflies, hummingbirds.
    Our children, parents of Cadence, are so proud of having no TV in the house, but really there can be so much that is valuable there. I say nothing.
    I know it's valuable that they're always Doing and Talking together with her.
    And speaking of talking, she put two words together for the first time yesterday, and then did it all day. more apple ("moah appo") moah 'nana, moah caccos (crackers) Daddy boot (as she was wearing them) so that's what's in store for your darling S in the coming month. Fun!

    Well, I'm all over the place here. Could it be that little glass of wine? I don't know, I surely have built up quite a tolerance over the years ;)

    1. Joy, I'd say we have so much in common, except I know you prefer red and I prefer white! :)

      When Snowdrop comes to the farmhouse for the evening, she is slated to watch the PBS news hour. I suppose some day that will have to stop (or pause), unless we become a saner world. But for real watching -- I think actually it's great to pick a nature show to watch together, especially in winter when you're looking for a way to stay quiet together and everyone is tired. So yes, I'm sure Snowdrop will see a nature film or video. I know that non-TV parents do end up streaming stuff through their computers, but I find that to be not very communal. I prefer the TV screen.

      Snowdrop did (at least for me) a first joining of words today when she said "hi, duckies!" She otherwise has very expressive requests using the word "yes" or "okay" to let me know of her great desire for something. She wants fruit? She goes to the refrigerator and tugs at the door and shouts "yes!" You ask her if she wants to go out -- runs for her shoes, your shoes, shouts "shoes!" then "go go go go go" or "okay okay okay!"

      The puzzlers for us are words she invented that have little similarity to the real ones. A penguin for her is "bis." Why? We don't know.

      I'm all over the place and I haven't even had breakfast! :)


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