Garden envy … er, inspiration

When my husband and I stroll by a certain neighbor’s yard, the one lined with Black-Eyed Susans at the front of her garden, he says quietly, “That looks really nice.” He’s right. The eight bushes shine their own light in the setting sun.

I walk through a meadow filled with Black-Eyed Susans and feel a need to capture a small part of that golden riot in my own yard.

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A field ablaze with Black-Eyed Susans

I want to plant as many Black-Eyed Susans as I can find, except that I’m not sure how they’ll do in our less sun-filled garden spots shaded by towering trees. I hate to waste the money, and even more, I hate to waste the plants if I can’t put them in a good place to grow.

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Perhaps this one bloom will bring many more.

So I’ve started with two pots full – just to try them out – knowing I can add more if these two thrive where I’ve put them.

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This one enjoys a sunny spot on the porch steps, but I must find a place in the ground for it.

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In the ground. Will the deer and chipmunks leave them alone?

They’re in the ground now, and time will decide how they fare.

While I wait for time and the flowers to decide their own fate, I read Sandra Cisneros’ sweet coming-of-age book The House on Mango Street and am moved by what the young narrator – a girl with my name in Spanish – says right there on page 33:

You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up
drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here
there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies are too
few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we
take what we can get and make the best of it.

I plant because I want butterflies too many to count and flowers too numerous to pick a favorite and a garden that captures beauty, so that no one walking by will say there is not enough of any of it.

But there’s this small part of me that wonders: is envy what drives me to fill the garden? Or is it inspiration?

True love and running, part 2

Two weeks ago, I promised a post about an inspiring couple who ran the same 100-mile race as my husband. Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Bill and Sally Squier. Theirs is a story of endurance – in love and in running. Theirs is also a story of inspiration and encouragement.

I’m not completely sure, but if I had to guess, I would bet that I first met Bill and Sally out in the woods at the headquarters aid station for this 100-mile race, an aid station that bears her name: Sally’s Asylum. My husband volunteered at the aid station before he and I ever met, and he has also paced runners, including Sally, as they ran toward their 100-mile finish.

Once we were married, I wanted to come out and meet all these crazy runners and fill water bottles and hand out food, too. I didn’t want to miss out on all the fun he was having in the dark middle of the night in the woods. We would joke and laugh with Sally and watch for Bill, who was usually running the race.

The first thing you notice about Sally is her smile. It’s warm and genuine and infectious, and I think that’s just one of the reasons so many people want to be around her. She’ll probably give you a hug, and if you’re at the aid station, she’ll put you to work. But then she’ll start asking you about your own running.

Sally is probably the one I have to thank (blame?) the most for my husband deciding to run the 100 miler. If I ever run even a 50 miler – which, Sally, I tell you in all seriousness I have no desire to do – I’ll be able to thank (blame?) her for putting the idea in my head in the first place.

Bill usually has a smile on his face, too, but if you watch closely, you’ll see him light up even more when he sees his beautiful bride Sally. This year, they became the oldest married couple to finish the 100 miler, at 70 years old. They’re likely the longest married to run the race, too. Continue reading