Friday, February 24, 2006

A Moment of Forever

Dear Rach,

It’s that time of year when the weather can’t seem to make up its mind, teasing us with heavenly temps as it did today (a whopping 64 degrees in February!), or reminding us exactly where we live with bitterly cold mornings as we experienced last Friday (with a bone-chilling negative 2 degrees). Your dad and I were laughing later in the week as we realized one has lived too long in the Midwest when a morning temp of 10 degrees is something in which to rejoice.

Every year, just about this time, I begin to wonder what ever possessed us to move from beautiful, sunny San Diego to Lincoln where the weather is always the topic of conversation. But just as I start my annual whine to Rod, I see the first hints of spring -- the tips of the tulip & daffodil bulbs peeking out from under the mulch; the ubiquitous gardening catalogs spilling from the mailbox; pitchers & catchers reporting to spring training; and that pesky rabbit who knows exactly where my coral bells and yarrow are planted, eager to nibble at the first sign of any foliage. I don’t recall much of a change in seasons when we lived near the beach (unless you count the Santa Ana winds and brush fires as part of a season). The palm tree fronds didn’t bud out in March; the tarantulas and rattlesnakes ignored any new growth on the oleander bushes and aloe vera plants; and we never worried about snow filling up the basement window-wells. After all, there was no snow, and no basements, either. So, I really don’t mean it when I whine and stomp my feet and say I miss California. But I do get awfully anxious for spring (and then summer... and then fall...) right about now.

I realize we still have several more weeks of winter, with a very real possibility of at least one or two big snow storms, but I can’t help but feel the itch to dig in the dirt and get started on my new shade garden on the east side of the garage. I’ve always enjoyed gardening and spring in Nebraska is so much more exciting than in San Diego. All those perennials that have been lurking beneath the cover of mulch (or snow) slowly emerge, looking fresh and healthy, bringing a smile to my face as I sip my morning coffee and wander around the yard, checking to see what else has sprung forth from its winter slumber. OK, and maybe checking the downspouts to make sure they haven't come loose during the past six months, threating to flood the basement in the first spring downpour.

I don’t think you had the chance to appreciate the incredible delight a garden can bring. You were just beginning to discover the joy of cooking and reading for pleasure, but without a home of your own, a yard was simply a place for Shaylyn to run around in, burning off the boundless energy of two-year-old, chasing the dog, tumbling down a slide, or digging in a sandbox. You might have enjoyed the beauty of someone else’s garden, but you had yet to own your own home and dig your own flower bed. Yet that didn’t prevent you from appreciating the beauty of flowers. Star-gazer lilies were a favorite and coincidentally, last Friday we received a gorgeous bouquet from Dad and June in memory of you on your birthday, and nestled in amongst all the other spring blossoms were four Star-gazer lilies! I found myself smiling every time I walked past the arrangement. Simply perfect.

During your last summer visit to Lincoln, we decided to wander around the Sunken Gardens, hoping to take advantage of the beautiful setting for our annual Christmas card photo. We’d done this once before, many years ago when you and Amy were still fairly young. Could it have been almost ten years ago?? In any case, you had been to the Sunken Gardens but never had the chance to see it after its major renovation last year. As a matter of fact, I have yet to visit the newly renovated Gardens and am anxious to see it this coming spring. And thank to some truly wonderful friends, your memory will live within the beautiful landscaping for years to come. Quite literally, forever. Linda, Bob, Scott, Cindy, Cami and Chad touched our hearts with their loving birthday remembrance of A Flower Forever in the Sunken Gardens. I don’t believe you ever knew any of these friends of ours, although both Linda and Scott worked with your dad at Cliffs Notes and, so you may have met them at some point in the last 12 years. However, I think they all feel like they’ve come to know you over the years, and most especially this past year, as they’ve helped us deal with our loss -- listening to us when we needed to talk, hugging us when the tears flowed, and consoling us over these dark, dark months. These are the folks who make up what I often referred to as our “gourmet dinner club.” I don’t know where we’d be today without the loving support of this special group of friends. Quite honestly, it has been the unending support of all of our friends, near and far, that have given us the courage and strength to go on with our lives.

A Flower Forever. Forever. That’s a long, long time!

Yet spring is just 24 days away and I can’t wait to wander around the Sunken Gardens. It just better not snow!


Blogger Eric said...


Thank you for introducing me to the post. I share your sentiments about seeing Rachel a different way. It's good we can still fill some blank spots for each other, and still get to know her better.


5:57 PM  

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