It’s November and the temperature is slowly creeping down.
I’ve had my first couple of work days were I had to put up my hood. It’s starting to get a little chilly out there and my ears do get cold! All of this discomfort is a good reminder to get to those winterizing chores that I’ve been putting off. I have a few pots that will crack if it freezes and a Star Jasmine that is too tender to survive a freeze.
I got the jasmine this last spring after spotting it at a nursery. The flower’s scent brings me back to a year I spent in California when I was a kid. Our whole house was surrounded by jasmine and it’s amazing fragrance. I thought it was so exotic. Looking back now, I realize what a successful ground cover (weed) it was!
Well, I don’t have to worry about it running rampant here in Port Townsend but, I do have to worry about it freezing. Even with the different microclimates in this area, it is safe to say that we can get down into the low 20’s. You can see from the red leaves that I got it in just in time. So, there it will sit, in my shed, next to a window.
Sculpture and statues can be brought in as well if you have concerns about their integrity.
I really enjoy this change. These pieces can take on a whole new character when they are indoors. For me they become even more alive and intimate. There is one that I bring in every year.
There are themes in your life that repeat themselves; ideas and people that pop-up as our life’s coil slowly spirals out. I like it. Just when my life starts to feel loose and formless it brings me back to the beginning.
Or from the beginning.
Or after the beginning.
Bring the beginning.
When I first saw her she was in a beautiful bluff garden overlooking the Straits. I was helping my friend with her job. This was maybe 6 years ago? Funny thing is, I remember her looking different then. Maybe larger, more demonstrative? Definitely different.
I saw her again a couple of years later.
Teresa and her husband were selling their house and needed help with the garden. They were wanting to move to Arizona to escaped our gray winters. SADD is a real issue for some because of our gray cloudy winters. Some years are more gray than others. Unfortunately for these two transplants from California, we had had a few brutally gray, wet winters with gray summers to match. They wanted out! I don’t blame them. I know being outside as much as I am really helps me to make it through those dark days.
One morning, when I showed up to work, she was out at the end of the driveway next to the garbage and yard waste bins. My heart almost stopped. She looked so out of place. My mind immediately raced to thoughts of what could have gone wrong?
I had to ask.
It turns out they weren’t taking any of their statuary with them and were giving them away to friends. Except this one. She had offered it to a friend but didn’t think they would want it. This statue had lost a little piece of concrete on the backside which exposed some rebar. She said it needed repairs because “if it got wet and froze it would cause the statue to break even more”.
Then she spoke words that were too good to be true, “Why, would you want it?”
“Yes.” I said I would like to do a work trade.
Actually I was in need of some Good Vibrations and felt immediately that money would bring bad luck. She said she would get back to me after checking with the friends she had originally offered it to. I think I was able to hide my excitement. We talked for a bit.
She told me her name was Quan Yin and ask if I had heard of her.
She told me some of her story. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Virgin Mary.
As a child, visiting my grandparents in Chicago, I can remember walking through the neighborhood and catching glimpses into the backyards. I kept seeing statues of Mary. She was usually surrounded by roses or lush greenery. It was so simple, so calm. I think this had to be one of my first concepts of a garden. A quiet space tucked away in your own backyard. I had been hoping for years to create a Mary garden of my own.
Unfortunately, the Mary statues that I found were of poor quality and a little cheesy looking or already in someone elses yard. Should I knock on their door and ask about it? I was way too shy!
When I got home that night I looked Quan Yin up on the internet. She had some great names: Mother of Mercy, Goddess of Compassion and (my favorite) the Compassionate Rebel! Some were even familiar as the stories of Cinderella and Snow White. Here is a quote from the Legend of Quan Yin: One of the several stories surrounding Quan Yin is that she was a Buddhist who through great love and sacrifice during life, had earned the right to enter Nirvana after death. However, while standing before the gates of Paradise she heard a cry of anguish from the earth below. Turning back to earth, she renounced her reward of bliss eternal but in its place found immortality in the hearts of the suffering.
What beautiful imagery! It created a sweet sadness in my heart. I truly began to long for her help but, that feeling of longing also brought with it a nervousness. I can be superstitious at times. Could wanting it make it not come to me? While I was waiting to hear back from Teresa I made this collage.As you can see, the title was really more of a wish.
It only took a few days to hear back from Teresa. She was mine and I could come anytime to get her! I quickly planned a day to finished spreading the pile of mulch that was in their driveway and made sure I brought towels and blankets to wrap her in for the ride home. Once again it was explained to me that she needed repairs. They thought that spreading silicone over the rebar would keep her from breaking in the freeze. I really didn’t like that idea. What would a glob of rubber look like on her back? By the time I got home I had already decided against it. If she couldn’t withstand a freeze then she shouldn’t have to.
Now, every year, I bring her in.