My plants are thirsty. Sometimes it seems they are asking for water by some subliminal method. I feel their thirst and their desire to have me provide water. I supply them readily, soaking the orchids in water and letting them drain for several hours in the sink. None of that “icecube melting” for my orchids, no indeed. The slanting morning sun glints off of several, silver champaign coolers which hold multiple orchids, dyed pastel colors. Slightly sheer but, opaque enough to stop the rays from penetrating the petals, one is turquoise, one is bright, lipstick, pink, and one especially luxurious plant is deeply lavender. The yellow and pale pink orchids are un-dyed and were there before Easter. So were the lush white ones that have been coming back over and over again for the last three years, since being brought to Charlottesville from my mothers’ house in Washington DC.
This forest of orchids greets me daily when I enter the bright high-ceilinged kitchen with its east-facing bay window and several skylights. The island on which they normally sit has just the right amount of sunlight (indirectly) and moistness due to much use of the sink, plus a humidifier in winter. Orchids are happy here. But somehow they make their presence known and silently demand attention. I talk to them when they are doing well and thank them. I encourage them when they seem ‘poorly’. They seem to trust me.
Glittering shafts of sunlight illuminate all of the rooms facing east here at Loftlands as the sun rises. Anything that can shine, does. The waxed furniture, the brass trim, the mirrors, the glass in the picture frames, and of course anything made of silver. Even the dust motes floating in the morning air, seem to swirl in mini tornadoes as the French doors are opened to let the dogs run outside. Immediately the air is full of scent, cut grass, flowering bushes, and dazzling trees fluffed abundantly with tightly budded flowers often opening within hours. A Lilac has been in full bloom beside the house, unnoticed until its scent wafts into my nostrils, shocking me with its sweetness.
Those little morning chores interrupted on the days when I rush off to Pilates for the 6:30 am class, but otherwise performed nearly every dawning of the day, complete me. All is right with the world if the birds are fed, the dogs have gone out to relieve themselves, the coffee or tea is ready, and the flowers are watered.
Feeding birds is basic, here. Nothing too elaborate, except for the small green cages for suet, and the differing heights of the actual feeders themselves. Tall poles with hooks at different levels hold the separate filled tubes. Some hold several cups of seed while others are smaller and can be filled with two cups. There is a brightly painted tin trash can of the ancient variety, we all used to always use, before the heavy plastic type which is ubiquitous today. I fill it to the brim at times with more than fifty pounds of black oil sunflower seeds. Inside is a two-cup volume plastic scoop which makes filling the bird feeders easy. The painted red top clangs in a friendly way when I pop it off and lay it on a nearby glass-topped side table which is wrought iron painted peacock blue. I scoop out cups full of shiny black sunflower seeds. The satisfying sound of the seeds showering into the long tubes enhances my enjoyment of this task. The birds have flown away but they are waiting, nearby. When all the feeders are chock full of bounty for them, I go quietly inside. They swoop down to my terrace, slightly wary, but pretty confident that all is well.
The trash can is painted white with flowers and birds depicted in bright colors around its circumference. All my senses are alive to the colors, scents, chirping, and singing of birds and the cool brick terrace beneath my sandaled feet. Bucolic and peaceful, lovely and raw, soft and hard-edged, the clouds cast shapes on the ground. The outlines of the shadow of thick cumulous clumps are clearly visable. The pond far below shines and shimmers, and seems bigger every year. I am told that a crew of beavers has made a dam that has increased the waters breadth. That bit of water, though far away Is just the thing to keep the scene cool and comfortable, a beauty mark on the already flawless picture.
People ask if I am traveling, going somewhere for the summer, visiting friends in Europe, or exploring countries to which I have never yet been. No. Travel is anything but peaceful these days. Being treated as a potential terrorist is insulting and inconvenient, as well as WRONG. Why should I leave what I have here? Why indeed.
Come visit me when you are in Earlysville, VA
Copyright©. 2023 Bonnie B. Matheson