My husband and I celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary last June in my Amsterdam hospital room. The dietician ordered up a special lunch for the occasion -- pannenkoek, Dutch pancakes. And Ray brought me flowers. He has always brought me flowers, and I am surprised and delighted every time.
Physical independence has expanded my world: from a single bed, to a hospital hallway, to Oosterpark, to Florida my home and neighborhood. Yesterday, my husband and I ventured further than we've been since our return, and, as always, we are the better for this little taste of travel.
About a week into the new year, Susie and I were playing when a clod of dirt came flying over the brick wall, narrowly missing Susie’s head. Hey!” I yelled. The wall was too high to see over. I jumped back as another clump of dirt soared into the air. I was getting mad now. “Ma, cosa fai?"
As the leaves change to red, burnished yellow and blazing orange against the clear blue skies of fall in northern climes, South Florida continues to deliver pink, purple, white and lavender against a backdrop of green.
The nomadic life of my youth taught me four things: 1) be at home where you are; 2) let go when it's time; 3) settle in fast; and 4) forget there's anywhere else to be. This cycle puts you right back at 1) being at home where you are.
And now, a little photography interlude with a zen garden not far from me in South Florida....
From the burgeoning gardens of the Hotel de Ville in Alma, Wisconsin to the splendors of Snooky, Julie and Ruth's flowerbeds along the St. Croix, these images from our mini-Home Leave to Minnesota stay with me....
In South Dakota, where my dad's from, you swim in a crick, you put a ruhf over your head and you set down ruhts.
In the Foreign Service, where I'm from, they sent Dad and Mom and Susie and me back to his ruhts every few years to remind us that we were Americans. It was called Home Leave.
After the hustle of checking the sights off the list in Paris, it was heaven to wander through the Jardin du Luxembourg along with every other combination of families on a Sunday afternoon.
I wished that Mom could have been with my husband and me during our visit to Amsterdam (too late to see tulips in bloom, but found some in a vase) and Paris in May, and especially when we visited Claude Monet's home and gardens .