Musings of a Gardener Returning to her Nest

The strangest thing happens when I first return home from a trip. It’s subtle. It doesn’t happen when I’m gone for just a day but if I’m gone a weekend or longer I notice.

If I lived with Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory he could probably sum it up in a sentence or two. In my unscientific mind it feels like my environment shifted. Does this happen to you?

It started at the airport. Mike pulled up to the curb, and the boys spilled out of the car. They didn’t look like the boys at the airport curb just a week before. They’d changed. I studied them closely when we were back in the car. How much could change in eight days? Yet it was there. Palpable.  One week older, that much closer to manhood, tousled hair a fraction longer. Strange.

Back home the environment shifted too. The furniture hadn’t been moved, all the kitties were present and accounted for but time moved ahead by a week. I could feel and it smell it in the air.

In the garden, the changes were even more profound. Squash bugs took over the last pumpkin hanging. Pantyhose be damned!  I’m glad I harvested the other three early.  Tomatoes remain on the vine, but they’ve lost their rosy plumpness. Left unattended the basil flowered along with a few sweet peas, arriving late to the show.

purple sweet pea

A purple sweet pea…at last. Thanks for the seeds, Boomdee!

pumkin with squash bugs and pantyhose

Pantyhose fail: Squash bugs, 1, Gardener, 0

Most of the sunflowers are bowing with weighty seeds. One newcomer bloomed in my absence. What a happy surprise. I planted a variety pack, but thought I’d seem them all. This one looks like a bright yellow pom-pom and stands over six feet tall.

sunflower seed head

Someone’s enjoying the sunflower seeds

pom pom sunflower

My newest sunflower

Another subtle shift happened while I was away: a shift of mind. Rather then trying to break bad habits, I’m focusing on establishing better ones. I’m heading to bed earlier and reading more. I’m rethinking my blog, exploring new ideas and realizing that a vacation is not only time away but a break from doing the same thing.

The trip itself was a treat beyond measure. I got to spend time with my dearest friend, Boomdee, her delightful cousin, another blogger and a woman I’ve never met. We walked, talked, laughed, shopped and carried on like teenagers. It was good for my heart and my soul.

Victoria, BC, 2014

Victoria, BC, 2014

I love traveling and I love coming home. Time away helps me appreciate the value of both.

How about you? Do you arrive home refreshed and ready for a change, or grateful for the return of your routines?

23 thoughts on “Musings of a Gardener Returning to her Nest

  1. Welcome home Alys – I love how you describe your boys as ‘spilling out of the car’ Nothing quite like it huh?

    I know that ‘shift’ thing – it always makes me wonder what it must be like for coma patients who awake months or years later to find that life has gone on without them……. But then we adjust and catch up and carry on! I love coming home! I always have, no matter where ‘home’ was or who was or wasn’t there – it’s our special place, our haven. I have also experienced the return as being a kick-start to new things. Last time I went away for a week I returned and did my flat over!

    Sorry to hear about the last pumpkin – those bugs sure are determined! Maybe you should just consider growing the pumpkins for them and purchase the Halloween ones? Perhaps a little reverse psychology may work. 🙂

    And I’m so happy to hear you are changing a few things up – always good to give ourselves a new chapter I think. Mine is coming soon too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pauline! (((Pauline))) Delighted to see your comment, and as always, so appreciative or your words and insights.

      I’ve wondered, too, what it would be like to awake from a coma. It would be so mind-altering, especially when you consider the kind of changes that might have taken place.

      I remember how energized you were the last time you returned. Your flat looked amazing after the transformation, too, though it was no doubt adorable beforehand. I don’t recall the ‘starter’ photos. Hopefully little Siddy will grow up and you can resume a more carefree decor (i.e. baskets with knitting on the floor again). It must be like living with a toddler. Everything goes up.

      I’m really glad I harvested the other three pumpkins early, and I’m happy to report they are almost fully orange. One of my youngest son’s jobs while I was away was to turn the green parts of the pumpkin towards the sun from the kitchen window. He told me today that they didn’t change much until I got back! That made me smile.

      I dispensed with the last ugly mess of bugs today and the pumpkin plants for this season are no more. I’m skipping them all together next year, and will try tomatoes instead in my Earthboxes.

      How are your spring planting plans coming along?

      We’ll have to compare ‘chapters’ soon. xoxoxoxoox

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pauline! (((Pauline))) Delighted to see your comment, and as always, so appreciative or your words and insights.

    I’ve wondered, too, what it would be like to awake from a coma. It would be so mind-altering, especially when you consider the kind of changes that might have taken place.

    I remember how energized you were the last time you returned. Your flat looked amazing after the transformation, too, though it was no doubt adorable beforehand. I don’t recall the ‘starter’ photos. Hopefully little Siddy will grow up and you can resume a more carefree decor (i.e. baskets with knitting on the floor again). It must be like living with a toddler. Everything goes up.

    I’m really glad I harvested the other three pumpkins early, and I’m happy to report they are almost fully orange. One of my youngest son’s jobs while I was away was to turn the green parts of the pumpkin towards the sun from the kitchen window. He told me today that they didn’t change much until I got back! That made me smile.

    I dispensed with the last ugly mess of bugs today and the pumpkin plants for this season are no more. I’m skipping them all together next year, and will try tomatoes instead in my Earthboxes.

    How are your spring planting plans coming along?

    We’ll have to compare ‘chapters’ soon. xoxoxoxoox

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  3. Both, refreshed ready for the usual pattern of my life to continue but also with new eyes, appreciating even more the things I love about home and sometimes accepting for easily other things. Traveling opens my eyes to new ideas new ways of thinking.

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  4. Awwwww, your homecoming greeting sounded so warm and full of love. I wonder if the changes you noticed in the boys had been revealing themselves for a bit but when we see someone all the time we’re less likely to notice these things.
    Those nasty bugs need to go on holidays and never come back…eeeek, sorry to hear about your last pumpkin. I don’t think I could take it, they’re just too creepy.
    I love your collage with all our holiday memories and BOOM smack in the centre is so cute. Ha, what were the chances of finding that sign? Serendipity I would think 😀 What is the aqua thing in the top left? Next to Sherri’s funny smile photo, I couldn’t figure that out. Jim met me at the airport and we went for dinner at our usual restaurant. The kitties greeted me like sharks, just going round and round me slightly out of reach, LOL. I finally snagged Petals to get me some kitty loving (she like being carried around). Blossum is a Daddy’s girl so after a few head scratches and tail stretches, off she went. I think they both were more interested in their Whiska treats than mum, ha (they usually get a few when we walk in the door). Anywho, it is nice to be home and back at work and it’s nice and cool in the house. We’re on AC now, just in time for the cooler weather, LOL. I had just so much fun on our trip hon, I’m going to organize some photo’s tomorrow. Today, I have a repair man here then out at Aunty’s Birthday Party and Sherri will be in now for a few days too 😀 What a month!!!!!!! xoxoxox

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    • I’m sure you’re dead on: changes are difficult to observe until you step away for awhile. I just donated a huge bag of clothing to HOPE. C has outgrown most of his pants and shorts and many of his shirts. That’s when you’re really aware of the size change.

      I’m so done with those bugs. No pumpkins next year (boo hoo). It’s just too disheartening to contemplate another summer crop like this one.

      That was a fun collage to make with Boom seeming to be the most appropriate at center stage: you, the Boomdee connection, and the fact that your blog brought us together. Serendipity.

      I shared the aqua thing on Facebook. It’s one of three steal drums left behind in the store. The clerk said it was the only thing there so they painted them aqua and used them for the counter. I like that.

      Aw…shark kitties. Love that image.

      Hurray for AC!!!!! Next summer will be a whole new experience for you, and a positive one at that.

      I’m glad your repair was manageable. I’m looking forward to hearing more about Aunty K’s party. xox

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  5. In answer to your question, it depends on how being away was. When I came back home from Japan earlier this year, I was sad but going into the garden immediately grounded me again.

    Sorry to read that you’ve lost the last pumpkin and had other disappointments. On a positive note, it is great to hear you enjoyed yourself whilst away and you have had reflection time 🙂

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    • Wow, a trip to Japan must have been amazing. I’ve never been, though my husband traveled there. Our next door neighbor’s son just moved there for a year to teach English. I hear it’s an amazing place.

      The garden is grounding, isn’t it. Quite literally.

      While sorry to lose that last pumpkin, I’m glad I harvested the other three early. They’re still turning orange, too. Yeah for that.

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        • The reading I did on the subject said it would depend on how far along the pumpkin was. Two of ours were turning orange but had lots of green. One was a pale yellow.

          Since I wouldn’t have any pumpkins if I left them, I decided to bring them inside. I wiped them down with a solution of one part bleach, ten parts water, then wiped them dry. They’ve been in the kitchen window getting sunlight and they’ve turned a beautiful orange.

          Let me know if you give it a try.

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  6. Lovely story Alys! Like looking a bit over your shoulder;0) Glad you had a good time. I love traveling and than I have my family in The Netherlands too who I try to see at least once a year. But I also love coming home, I feel that humm of excitement and contentment. But yes, I first have to scurry and putter around the house, touch everything, put things back in the ‘right’ place, hug Charley for the longest time and just enjoy that happy feeling of being home again…have a great weekend!

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    • I enjoyed reading your process once home. I so get that idea of putting things in the ‘right’ place. I don’t fully settle till I’m unpacked, laundered and things feel centered again. It’s also nice to be missed and appreciated when you return, in addition to appreciating what you have,

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  7. So much to ponder in this post, Alys, and while you clearly had an incredible trip, you do sound a bit melancholy … perhaps thoughtful is a better word. Time away does allow us to shift focus, prioritize, think things through. I’ll look forward to seeing what you do and reading about changes / adjustments to your routine.
    It has taken me almost a month to get back to a sense of normalcy (whatever that is) … I’m hoping that I’ll be all caught up by the end of the week. We shall see 🙂
    Take care now xoxo

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    • LB I was a bit melancholy when I wrote this. You’re perceptive. The reentry was challenging at first, arriving home two days after my boys started school. I also found it hardest to jump back into the mundane: dishes, laundry, bill-paying, etc. I’ve back in the swing though, but missing Petals and the beautiful city of Victoria.

      I have my next travels to look forward to, though which include meeting you. That, my friend, is exciting.

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  8. I think, Alys, as a grower of all things capable of life, you are finely trained in the art of progress and development. Your level of sensitivity has been a skill honed over years in the garden (and of course as a mum). And I truly believe folks who have that delicate responsiveness are lucky ducks indeed, as time will always make you smile in wonder at the smallest and most fragile of transformations: the waxing and waning of life.
    It’s good to be home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shelley, such lovely words to come home to. Thank you for that.

      …’finely trained in the art of progress and development…” sounds so much nicer than “you’re too sensitive.” something I often heard growing up. I’m fianlly at peace with it. Now you’ve come along and framed it with your lovely turn of a phrase. May I quote you in the future?

      I hope your daughter’s college launch is off to a good start.

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      • You may quote me any time of the day or night. You may also find other people’s clever phrases and acknowledge them as mine. I’m totally comfortable with that and will back you up in a pinch.
        Yes, the launch is in full swing–but now my part is dwindling and far away. I’m getting a lot of texts as she’s sorting her way through many “firsts,” but I have a pretty good feeling that she will come out the other side feeling pretty proud of her mostly solo efforts.
        School officially begins tomorrow. This last week has been days chalk full of orientation.
        And I remember those essay days. Maybe your son will let you post his? Or at least write about the special way it’s touched your heart. Hang in there, mama. 🙂

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        • LOL LOL LOL. You always make me laugh. What a gift.

          It’s great to hear that the college launch is off to a fabulous start. Leaving home, no matter how badly you want it, is jarring when it finally happens. I wish her great success throughout the year. The holidays will be here before you know it.

          Thanks for the idea of sharing my son’s essay. That is sweet. With his permission, I will share my thoughts. Perhaps once he’s successfully applied and it is caring less weight than it is right now. Thanks, fellow mama.

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  9. YESSS. i always feel like something has shifted- missing a week in the garden is not what I like to do at all- I could sit in one spot all year and just watch things grow- honestly. That is what I am going to do when I am too old to move. But i do think that getting away is so important even if you don’t really want to– you see things clearly about what needs to be done at home. I am glad you are feeling refreshed. Women are happier when they go on at least 2-3 vacations a year- I read that somewhere- who knows…

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  10. I’m a little late in the game here but I know just how you feel. And yes, the boys can change a lot in one week. They can change in a moment if we watch quietly. I find it incredible to observe. I was happy to be back too even though time at the beach was very restful and I needed that. Was very slow getting back into the work grove and part of me wants to go back to the simple life at the beach. Everything is a mixed bag. Life’s kinda funny that way. Glad you had such a wonderful, introspective time. Hugs.

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    • I’m so glad your time at the beach was restful. There is something about looking out across the water that refreshes our souls. We were right on the coast in Victoria, so between the water and the flowers, bliss.

      Life is a mixed bag. It keeps it interesting. Hugs

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