My new book “Midlife Solo” is now available.

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listing the garden and missing the Kinks

PlantNet has changed my life. It reminds me of that fantastic scene in The Miracle Worker, as Annie Sullivan desperately tries to get Helen Keller to understand: “It has a NAME!” And at last the girl’s face lights up. I am that girl. Now I know the names of almost all the plants in the garden, because the app told me so. Though not my beautiful roses.

So I made a list from one end of the garden to the other and counted. There are at least 47 different kinds of plants and flowers in the garden, including several different varieties of the same genus (that are only counted once.) There are 11 kinds of trees, including 12 cedars. 15 kinds of vegetables and spices, and 2 kinds of fruit.

And I know almost all their names! Come over and I’ll introduce you to spiderwort, mandevilla, bugbane, comfrey, allium, goutweed, coreopsis. Aren’t those beautiful names? 

But one name eludes me, infuriatingly, and that’s the title for my book. More searching today. Too bad there isn’t an app for book titles. Ah well – something will come.

I make lists every day. For days now, my list has included finishing the course, Marketing for Creatives, that I started weeks ago and abandoned. It includes clearing out the fridge and cooking what needs to be cooked. Spraying the plants that have bugs or are at risk and fertilizing them all. Not to mention cleaning and clearing and laundry.

Did I do a single one of those things today? Nyet. I did however list all the plants in my garden and do Jane Ellison’s exercise class and have aperitif with Monique, and I did spend an hour rooting through a vast box of family photos looking for a shot of my parents in the seventies to use in the book. And I found one – not good quality, a Polaroid, but wonderful nonetheless.

They were at a cottage they’d rented; my mother had not yet quit the cello. She found it too hard but she played piano and recorder beautifully. And Dad, as you can see, the violin.

And I found one of my favourite shots of me, my 18th birthday.

That summer, I was working as a waitress at the New Parkway Motor Hotel in Cornwall, Ontario, which was run by my uncle Loris. But the weekend of my birthday, I’d come home to celebrate with my parents in Ottawa. THAT VERY WEEKEND, The Kinks – THE KINKS – came through Cornwall and stayed overnight at the New Parkway Motor Hotel. They ate in the restaurant. When I got back, all the waitresses were giggling, and stories were told. I missed it all.

Perhaps just as well.

PS I forgot to count the wisteria! 48!



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About Beth

I began keeping a journal at the age of nine. Nearly fifty years later, I started this online journal, sharing reflections, reviews, updates, and the occasional secret.

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