Here I am again. I’m sorry for my absence and I’ll be changing the format of this blog a bit. Life has been rather unsettling lately, and I’ve been devastated by the way two unscrupulous greedy lying businessmen have managed to close Island Quilter, the island retail store which brings more people to our small island than any other, a store filled with joy and love and excitement, a store which will be replaced by yet another exercise studio, something our island already has in an abundance. I will spare you all the gory details, but my best friend, who has put in countless hours and all her energy into making Island Quilter an island jewel, has been stabbed in the back, slandered, and now forced to close as her building was sold out from under her. For me personally, I’ve had to watch my friend’s pain, helping as much as I could, but realizing that in the end there was nothing I could do to stop the inevitable. In addition, I am losing one of my favorite spots, the source of inspiration for my quilting, and one of my few “safe” spaces. I suffer from depression and an anxiety disorder, so safe spaces are particularly important to me. But I am far from alone in my dismay at what has happened and today is the last day that Island Quilter will be open.
What does this have to do with baby firs and wild poppies, you may be asking by now? As I look out my kitchen window even in my current mood of wondering what the point is to anything, I see many baby firs, some getting quite tall, volunteers in my yard. Mingling with them are some lovely yellow poppies which sprouted in a turtle planter I had in my previous home, moved to Vashon with me nearly nine years ago, and are now happily thriving and spreading. Whenever I look at them, even on my darkest days, I smile. Here’s a photo showing them (along with my dog, Oliver):
I once had a someone tell me (and tell me, and tell me) that I needed to pull these volunteer firs as soon as I saw them because they were weeds and one day would become really big. I would end up living in a fir forest. I know this is a valid way to look at them, but I can’t see it that way. They always make me smile. This seems a good thing to me, especially given my constant levels of anxiety. I realize that some time in the future someone may have to cut down some of these, but is that a reason to keep them from every growing? And one thing recent events have reminded me of is that there are no guarantees at all. What we have is this moment. The little firs and the lovely yellow poppies know that. And I can learn from them. I think that if they were able to make a choice, they’d say that they’d like the chance to live and grow for as long as they can.
I have a lovely yard, filled with many wonderful trees and plants which I chose and which I paid a considerable sum to have planted. And I do enjoy them. But my favorite plants in my yard are these firs and poppies. Maybe that is ironic that the free additions are my choice, but that’s just it. I made a lovely yard, well tended and well cared for and these additions chose to live with me. I honor their choice and am grateful for it, especially in the spring when the little firs burst forth with their bright green growth which is so soft and cute. Here’s another photo of another of my firs:
A good friend and fellow blogger has a Saturday feature, Suggestion Saturday, where she shares interesting posts with her readers and today she had one suggestion which really hit home for me. It is Your World is How You View It, and I really encourage you to read the entire post, which I found extraordinarily helpful. What I realized is that it is way too easy for me to focus my lens, as the author says, on the wrong things. My baby firs and wild poppies help me to bring my focus away from what’s going wrong, not that I don’t have to help with that, but I need to remember the joy that is out there, right in my own yard. So I won’t listen to the nursery owner’s Chicken Little attitude toward my volunteers. She never did understand what power they have for me. In the photo above, I could choose to see all the weeds, but instead I see that lovely little fir bursting with new life, not asking any existential questions but just being. Is it easy? No. Is it necessary, I think so. I’ll leave you with several more photos of my lovely firs.