Monday, September 19, 2011


I am not a good mother to plants. I let them suffer until an untimely death, and then I shrug and toss them into the compost pile. I wish I had a greener thumb; I wish plants and cut flowers thrived in my house and lasted longer than the bag of potato chips I buy every Sunday, which lasts until...Monday.

I do better with things that can tell me when they're thirsty. Like the dogs who have mastered the art of looking reproachfully at their empty bowl. Or the kids, who have mostly learned to get their own drinks. The guinea pigs can squeal like nobody's business, and the largest horse, Carly, has a glare that can reach all the way to the bedroom where I'll feel it in my spine. No forgetting those animals.

But plants – poor plants. Sorry, plants. Maybe someday I will have a bit more space in my brain for you. Maybe someday I'll play host to an array of plants – violets, orchids, tea roses – settled in a tray of white pebbles, each in its own hand-painted pot, each sporting new growth and smiling blooms. But for now, please accept my apologies and know my neglect is not malicious. Rest in peace.

With the start of school for two of us and holiday planning in not-too-far distant future, there have been some sleepless nights recently. Often those bouts of insomnia put you in touch with inspiration, and somehow ideas that come in the wee hours are brilliant and fully formed. Almost as if by magic. Despite feeling tired, we are desperately trying to lay claim to the last bits of summer right now, taking advantage of every moment to soak up each spare sun ray.
It occurred to me on one of those thrashabout nights, that what I want to have next summer is a lemonade stand--but for grown ups. Let’s say you’re dropping off a child at a playdate, then stop on by for a glass of something cold. And if you’re planning a bike trip, try to steer your group past my house, nothing appeases your thirst like a sparkling beverage.

I’ll have several drinks to choose from: cordials, syrups, and elixirs that can be splashed in some seltzer or lemonade for a little something special. Come try a little rhubarb, mint or ginger. Each concoction created in our kitchen, with more than enough to share. Would you like a tall glass or a small one? Most will be reclaimed jars; some wide mouthed, some that used to hold jelly, but all make a satisfying clink when you toss in a few cubes. And I’ll make sure we have a freezer stocked with ice cubes a plenty.

So this winter as you wrap your hands around another cup of tea or mug of hot chocolate, try to remember what it felt like to be warmed by the sun, and how thirsty you were after being outside for so long. Know that next summer you’re always welcome to stop on by for a cold drink. I’ll have sprigs of mint and lemon verbena for a festive garnish, some cut up citrus fruit that you can toss in just for fun. The sun will make the ice jewel-like and beautiful. A refracted rainbow in each glass.

As the snow piles up outside my door, it will blanket the grass and flowers. Life will be a little quieter with time for reflection, dreams and desires. Sipping from these thoughts will keep me going through the endless winter months. I can almost taste it now.

Next Week's Word: Baby

1 comment:

  1. Man it's been busy hasn't it? I could go for a glass of Lemonade right NOW! :)
    Glad that you all got thru Irene okay.
    Even if I can't comment I'm still enjoying your lovely posts.