Thursday, July 13, 2017


The life of a day lily bloom is one short day. It opens in the morning and is finished by nightfall. True, a stalk has buds ready to bloom in succession, so that you're likely to have several weeks of flowers from one day lily plant, but nonetheless, the beauty of any one bud is intense and very short.

You cannot be surprised that I want to hold onto these days of peak day lily flowers. I thought about them in the winter -- buying a few new ones, studying books and catalogues. And I pampered them in spring. No rain for two days? You poor dears, let me run the hose for a bit.

Come summer, I always am astonished when they burst into full bloom, because even though I've seen it before, the show is beyond magnificent!

Some people love fireworks (also fleeting and to some -- beautiful), I love my day lilies.

I say this so that you will understand why I must devote so much space to seemingly similar flower beds. To me, each angle is different and of course, for reasons stated above, each bloom is fresh, deserving of rapture.

From the middle of the grand flower bed, looking toward the farmhouse:

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From the middle of that same bed, looking toward the sheep shed:

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From the northern corner of the grand bed, up the path to the house:

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(Java, watching, hoping...)

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And of course, I have to include a corner of the porch-hugging day lily bed.

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Breakfast. I include a little dish of freshly picked berries, because it was so hard to harvest them (mosquitoes!) and so I think they deserve special consideration.

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This is our view from the porch every morning. Well, except it's different every day because, you know: one day only for each bloom.

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When I pick up Snowdrop after her school day, she is, as always, just a wee bit tired. All the kids in her class who stay the full day are napping when I arrive just after noon. But from experience, I know that she is not ready to sleep now. She has always been a late girl: late to get up in the morning (on non school days), late to nap, late to go to sleep (if allowed to stay up).

During the winter, her afternoons are serene. She plays, builds, draws, learns, reads. Her social hours are in the morning and on weekends. In the afternoons, it's just me and Ed.

During the summer, I shift my focus to the outside world. And because we are so buggy right now, I take Snowdrop to places where I know the bug problem is not too severe. This is the time when I do a lot of watching, but I step back and let her take the lead.

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Today, a much older girl tried to engage her in a discussion about the merits of various pieces of playground equipment. Undaunted, Snowdrop explained to the girl her own take on what's worth doing and where she needs help with a climb (my gaga has to help me climb up that ladder). This to me is delicious to watch: Snowdrop has the verbal confidence of a kid who can talk her way out of many interesting situations.

(I know you're a big girl, but you're still not big enough to drink alone from that fountain!)

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On these walks, she often sets the rules: you hold this flower gaga... No, I don't want that one... etc.
(In case you're wondering, I have to think she has a mosquito scratch on her neck and thus the bandaid, even though it does look mighty terrifying to see her with an injury just at the neck level!)

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Today, she again asks for the pool and this time I am agreeable. Moreover, having seen another child play with a little doll at the pool, I have packed her little baby, the one that is meant to be dunked in water. She spots it right away and her excitement is obvious.

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Again the pool fills. Many school buses bringing many groups of kids from day camps and school programs. My job now is to do two things: say to her "come back here, that's too deep for you," and protect her from the rush of older kids.

As I watch Snowdrop, I am convinced that the pool teaches her far more than I could in the hour we are there. True, she does imitate stuff that makes me cringe (but with a smile!): she'll repeatedly dash into the water, screaming (and like them, she can pack a piercing wallop!), just like the big kids. But the real lessons are when she watches how others play. I think she gets that the kids who are blessed with better social skills, play well with each other. The others are more pouty, less exuberant. She takes it in.

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It's always hard to get her to leave. But we must. Snowdrop's gaiety is running on borrowed time. She really does need to nap.

Our time at the farmhouse is really not free time at all, it's me trying to wind her down. Get her into quiet activity. And eventually book reading.

She finds this magazine on my table...  I want to read it! -- she announces. No wonder: it's a fantastic sketch of dogs playing in a children's playground.

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Not this year, Snowdrop. Not this year.