Memorial Day Weekend


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Far away on forward operating bases military men and women are cleaning their weapons and going about their business. It is just another day. Tomorrow, ops permitting, there will be time for a brief ceremony with a wreath, a flag, and perhaps a yellow ribbon to pay their respects for those who paid it forward. Those of us who served with them or waited for them to come home mark the holiday in our own way. For all of our differences, the one thing each of us who has ever deployed had in common was the desperate wish to make it out alive.


Hawks:  a mating pair. Bryon watched them through binoculars. The one on the right ate first and flew away to feed young. We think they have a nest nearby.

If you compare this to the photo from a couple of weeks ago, you’ll see that there has been some progress. Here’s what’s behind me:

                                                        Romaine lettuce and mixed greens, above.

 Blackberries and a purple bell pepper. Scarlet runner bean and potato flowers. The potatoes have been taking over the lower bed! We even had a surprise visitor–this one’s harmless.

The hatchlings in the orange tree have mysteriously disappeared, and we fear they may have become someone’s meal. However, other birds haven’t been discouraged from starting families nearby. The ones in the apple tree are almost teenagers now!

In The Garden


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So far the plants are holding their own.

Not much to look at on top, but there’s activity down below.

Hints of future salads have already begun to appear.






As I poked around I remembered Bryon’s warning about “critters”. Earlier in the morning he killed a young rattlesnake sunning itself between the boxes. Luckily, today’s visitor was much less scary.









Coming Back & Starting Over


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With all the activity—nest building, hatchlings, seedlings and weeds sprouting—the garden feels new, hopeful, a little heady. I’m sitting inside today, agreeing with George Bernard Shaw and scowling:  youth really is wasted on the young. What about that proverb that said, “Age and deceit will overcome youth and skill”? Maybe the Greeks were onto something …

Where’s the love for “age and deceit”? What is the point of learning—and benefiting—from one’s mistakes if there is no possibility to reboot? An entirely blank slate implies that nothing that came before mattered. How can anybody go forward if there is no reference point to go forward from? Milk of amnesia has its place, and sometimes it isn’t wrong to drink deeply. Sometimes memory is the remedy, even if the medicine is bitter.

Forgetting is easy; keeping an honest memory is hard. An honest memory isn’t neatly curated, since it includes not only those finest moments but also the ones best left in a dark place (probably because they have an annoying habit of flashing on the internal Jumbotron so they can be relived at the worst times).  Embrace it—experience is the raw material for your new start.

One bird has set her sights away from the fruit trees, inside the light over the garage door opener, and near bags of birdseed. It’s prime avian real estate:  secluded with on-site catering. What’s not to like? How does she know this spot, and why does she keep coming back? Bryon has cleaned out the half-completed results of her construction efforts at least twice already. She was probably raised here a couple of years ago. We had left the garage open all day and returned to a nest, complete with eggs.

Today I made sure the garage door was open. I heard chirping and, from the corner of my eye, saw a branch fly into the garage.

She remembered.