THIS WEEK IN FLOWERS

 
this week in flowers

" If you want to bring happiness to the whole world,

go home and love your family. "

— Saint Teresa of Calcutta


And it begins with children.
+
A book for little people with big dreams.  (Have not read yet, but hope to soon.)

This Week in Flowers is a series where I combine my love of arranging fresh flowers with my love of books. It is a simple way to share with you what's in season around me, and what words I'm finding particularly inspiring. What books do you love that I ought to know about? 

last time 
in This Week In Flowers: Last Stop On Market Street


—S

ON WASHING DISHES + JOURNEYING FOR LAND

 
on washing dishes

On Sunday, with half a loaf of sourdough, a jar of almonds, and our farm boots packed up, my little family loaded into our Volvo station wagon and headed an hour south. Over rolling hills, along the edge of the state forest, and down narrow dirt roads, Mark and I settled into the familiar conversations that accompany our car trips — What are your dreams? What will we eat for supper? When will we visit Greece again? — until we arrived at the nondescript, half-mile drive of a beautiful farm. As part of a yearlong early career farming program we've participated in since last fall, we are paired with farm mentors in our state. We requested this particular farm run by these particular farmers, and are we ever glad. Mark strapped the baby on and we helped the husband-wife team setup a bit of electric fencing for their Jersey steers, Katahdin lambs, and Kunekune hogs. I asked as many questions as I could spit out, but for every answer I thought of 20 more. Farmer wisdom is like maple syrup: when the weather is right, you tap the trees. We talked about pasture grasses and intergenerational farming. Every farmer is a touch crazy, we joked (in seriousness); living with land and beast is Truly, So Good, we agreed (in longing). We imagined if their farm were ours but, more than that, we imagined what will be ours, someday, some way.

washing the dishes
washing the dishes

Sometimes the goal feels faraway, and hard to grasp; cerebral, even. Other times we are living and breathing it, working it into being. Both versions have their place—are necessary, even. To quote my dad who is quoting Thich Nhat Hanh, "Scam, when you're washing the dishes, wash the dishes." And that's just it. Accepting and sinking into everything. Sometimes you're watching your dream unfold as your husband sets up pasture with your baby on his chest; sometimes you're folding another heap of laundry. Days like Sunday are critical for us. They illuminate what's possible, inevitably renewing our faith in the good and decent work of human beings. On my part, days on farms are like a sliver of my past life—a dazzling memory of what I (willingly) gave up when I became a mother, and a glimmer of what I know I will reclaim someday, some way. Everything in its turn.

For every Sunday, there is a Monday, in which the dishes need washing. If less glamorous, making a home and making a budget and making a loaf of bread are critical, too. I awoke Monday, saw Mark off to work with his lunch (turns out I love packing my husband's lunch), set bagel dough out to rise, and then visited the backyard with Rosemary. We sat down by the young, small milkweed—really getting down low to observe it, this little plant that I transplanted in hopes it might attract just one pollinator—and do you know what we saw? A monarch caterpillar.

So, say it with me (and my dad, and Thich Nhat Hanh),
"When you're washing the dishes, wash the dishes."

washing the dishes

—S

THIS WEEK IN FLOWERS

 
this week in flowers
this week in flowers


" She smiled and pointed to the sky.

'Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt, CJ,

you're a better witness for what's beautiful.' "
 

"CJ looked around as he stepped off the bus. Crumbling sidewalks and broken-down doors, graffiti-tagged windows and boarded-up stores. He reached for his Nana's hand. 'How come it's always so dirty over here?'
She smiled and pointed to the sky. 'Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt, CJ, you're a better witness for what's beautiful.' CJ saw the perfect rainbow arcing over their soup kitchen. He wondered how nana always found beautiful where he never even thought to look. "

— An excerpt from Last Stop On Market Streetby Matt de la Peña


+ "Grandmothers can help shape the way children view the world." Amen.
+ Find the book near you; or, gently used; or, from my favorite independent bookseller. (What's yours?)

This Week in Flowers is a series where I combine my love of arranging fresh flowers with my love of books. It is a simple way to share with you what's in season around me, and what words I'm finding particularly inspiring. What books do you love that I ought to know about? 

last time in This Week In Flowers: Walking With the Wind


—S

WORKS OF THE HOME: CARVING OUT CALM

 
carving out calm

I have yet to occupy any one place that truly felt like the one. Of the ten places I have lived since moving out of my parents house at 18, I have always known, on the day I moved in, that I would also move out — even here, in my grandma's house, a place that Mark and I effusively call Home. But it does not stop us nesters from painting the walls and putting dishes in their rightful places. My mom and I once stayed up all night to wallpaper the kitchen of my first college apartment (and no, we did not ask the landlord). Possessing a certain amount of awareness that This (Place) Too Shall Pass has never hindered my willingness to find, or create, the Home in the house. And the method is simple: carve out a space that evokes calm.

It is in our calmest states that Mark and I are able to communicate well, parent genuinely, and pray uninterruptedly. I suspect the same will be true for our child. A calm home environment relaxes her faster than any lullaby, car ride, or bath. (While I have no proof, I believe she is most calmed in our bedroom, in part, because it's where she was born, and where our family spent nearly every hour for the first weeks of her life.) For us, calm looks like pale walls, natural materials—wood and wool, especially, and a soft place to land. I love a lot of pattern on the floors by way of rugs. For you, calm might be tangerine walls and a freshly mopped kitchen floor. Keep the lights dim, stack your books in every nook and cranny, keep four cups of water on your nightstand (once guilty, now reformed), play the music you want to hear. . . whatever calms you — truly calms you —, hone in on it, and work for it. Carve it out of nothing if you have to. A calmed spirit is an open spirit, and openness begets most good things.

I'd love to know, what does calm look like for you?

carving out calm
carving out calm
carving out calm
carving out calm

for the inquisitive:

+ Economical, simple crib.
+ Temperature regulating, have forever, washable wool blanket.
+ The story of the blue rug.

last time in Works of the Home: Line Drying 


—S